In the past several years the OECD has also given much attention to the issues of environment, combating corruption and sustainable lending.
Members of the OECD Groups have been discussing, negotiating and working on agreements on the following topics:
OECD Guidelines on Environmental and Social Aspects
Under the Recommendation of the Council on Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence ("Common Approaches"), the governments of the OECD countries committed themselves in 2012 to taking environmental and social impacts into account when granting officially supported export credits. This is a further development to the environmental regulations of the OECD effective since 2001.
In recent years, attention to and awareness of issues relating to environmental protection and the socio-economic impacts of projects have increased considerably all over the world. more
Anti-Bribery / Combating corruption
To fight corruption, the OECD in 2000 embraced an Action Statement on bribery. It required the government credit insurance agencies to obtain a statement from their clients at the time of application to the effect that the transaction for which cover is requested does not involve bribery of foreign officials. Moreover, all customers were to be informed of the consequences of violating this code. In May 2006 OECD's Export Credits Group enhanced this Action Statement. In December it was converted into an OECD Recommendation.
A major aim of the Recommendation is to raise the awareness of combating bribery in international business transactions. In this regard, exporters/applicants are encouraged to apply appropriate management control systems to prevent bribery.
Export credit agencies are called on to strengthen their efforts to combat bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions benefiting from official export credit support and to implement additional measures.
- Requiring exporters/applicants to disclose whether they or anyone acting on their behalf are currently under charge, or have been convicted within the last five years for bribing foreign public officials.
- Verifying whether the exporter/applicant is listed on the publicly available debarment lists of defined international financial institutions (e.g. World Bank Group, EBRD).
- Undertaking enhanced due diligence if the exporter/applicant has been debarred by an international financial institution, is under charge for bribery, or has been convicted of bribery in the past or if there are reasons to believe that bribery may be involved in the transaction.
- This could include requiring further information in case of a debarment, conviction or charge or, where appropriate, requiring details about commissions (recipient, amount, purpose).
- In case of conviction, verifying that the exporter/applicant has taken internal corrective and preventative measures before new export credit support could be provided again.
The OECD Recommendation has come into effect at the beginning of 2007.
For exporters/applicants the new measures imply that additional questions with regard to debarment or conviction/charge have to be answered on the application form. The implications for export credit agencies are to take additional information into account when handling an application for cover.
The existing measures which are
- Informing the law enforcement authorities if there was suspicion that bribery was involved in the award of the export contract and
- Denying cover or indemnification if bribery was involved in the award of the export contract
Officially supported export credits should be provided in a responsible manner and contribute to the buyer country's social and economic development. To strengthen this idea the Export Credit Group has adopted principles and guidelines to promote sustainable lending practices in the provision of officially supported export credits to public buyers in low income countries. The application of these principles should ensure that ECA's commercial lending is not likely to contribute to debt distress in future.
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The Guidelines are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a variety of areas including employment and industrial relations, human rights, environment, information disclosure, combating bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition and taxation.
OeKB has been mandated by the government to inform its customers about the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and to encourage them to comply with these recommendations. OeKB has thus amended its application forms by a corresponding clause.
More on the topic at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy's website www.bmwfw.gv.at