International initiatives to promote responsible business: A navigation guide for business

Recognition of the fact that companies have a responsibility for their impact is now firmly established but there is still a gap in understanding what the international community expects of business in this area. The number of initiatives and standards relevant to corporate responsibility has increased rapidly over the last 15 years and there is now a plethora of guidelines available to business.

Companies no longer wonder whether to use such tools; they wonder about which ones to use, and in what combination.

This document aims to provide a user-friendly, balanced and impartial guide to help businesses to navigate their way through this maze. It seeks to articulate clearly the key aspects of three cross-industry initiatives

• The OECD Guidelines for Mulinational Enterprises;
• The United Nations Global Compact Principles; and
• The IFC Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability

All three of these initiatives aim to shape the behaviour of companies operating in developing and emerging markets. Industry-specific initiatives are not covered.

Further information