Complaint Procedures

The main Complaint procedure that The Corner House has used is the "Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises", a set of voluntary principles and standards adopted by states that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Multinational enterprises operating in or from OECD member states are expected to adhere to these Guidelines.

The Guidelines provide a set of recommendations for "good corporate behaviour" in the areas of employment and industrial relations; environment; combating bribery; consumer interests; competition; and taxation.

The Guidelines were first drawn up in the 1970s as a result of concern about the behaviour and economic dominance of multinational companies. They were revised in 2000, giving NGOs the right to submit complaints against OECD-based companies to the adhering countries' National Contact Points (NCPs) -- government offices established to promote adherence to the Guidelines. Although the Guidelines are non-binding, the complaints procedure is one of the few mechanisms available internationally to hold companies to account. NGOs and trade unions have filed over 100 complaints since the Guidelines were revised. A ruling against a company is considered very serious in business and financial worlds, despite the voluntary nature of the Guideline. 

The Corner House has filed complaints with the UK National Contact Point:

  • in April 2003 against BP over its Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline (together with Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), Kurdish Human Rights Project and Platform. The Complaint held that the BTC Consortium, of which BP is a part, had:

    • exerted undue influence on the regulatory framework;
    • sought or accepted exemptions related to social, labour, tax and environmental laws;
    • failed to operate in a manner contributing to the wider goals of sustainable development;
    • failed to adequately consult with project-affected communities on pertinent matters; and
    • undermined the host governments’ ability to mitigate serious threats to the environment, human health and safety.
  • in April 2005 against BAE, Rolls Royce and Airbus concerning their refusal to disclose to the UK’s export credit agency, the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) the names of their agents.

Both Complaints are ongoing.