UCL Faculty of Laws


40th anniversary of the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises

27 April 2016, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Business Ethics

Event Information

Open to



Centre for Ethics & Law


UCL Garden Room, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Roel Nieuwenkamp (Chair of the OECD Working party on Responsible Business Conduct)

Chair: Dr Maddalena Neglia (University College London)

About the talk

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the ‘OECD Guidelines’) are the most comprehensive international standards for corporate responsibility. They cover all major areas of business ethics, from environmental matters to corporate responsibility for the protection of human rights and labour relations. A unique feature of the OECD Guidelines is that they are accompanied by a legally binding obligation for governments to set up National Contact Points (‘NCPs’), which promote the OECD Guidelines and handle complaints about organisations operating within that jurisdiction. The Centre for Ethics and Law is delighted to mark the 40th Anniversary of the OECD Guidelines by welcoming Professor Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct, to discuss the development and impact of the Guidelines since their introduction in 1976 and to examine the recent political momentum to strengthen the NCP system.

About the speaker

Prof. Dr. Roel Nieuwenkamp studied Economics, Law and Philosophy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He worked at the European Commission and was a consultant in New Zealand. He worked for several years as management consultant at Arthur Andersen. In 1998 he became interim manager at the Ministry of Education. From 2001 until August 2006 he was managing director of the Entrepreneurship Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. From September 2006 until May 2013, he was managing director of the International Trade Policy & Economic Governance Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands. His responsibilities concerned trade policy (WTO), investment treaties, corporate responsibility, and the regulation of weapons and strategic goods. Next to his job he wrote his PhD dissertation about the interaction between ministers and top civil servants. From 2010 to 2014 he was part-time Professor of Public Administration at the University of Amsterdam. He still teaches at several universities.

Roel was Chair of the OECD Working Party on International Investment and in that capacity chaired the sensitive negotiations on the 2011 revision of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct. He chaired the Voluntary Principles for Security & Human Rights in the Extractives Industries in 2009 and 2013.

Since June 2013 Roel is Chair of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct. A unique Intergovernmental Working Group focused on Corporate Responsibility, based on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. He provides leadership to the unique complaints mechanism of the OECD Guidelines, the National Contact Point system. Besides, as Chair he leads the body of governments overseeing the corporate responsibility work of the OECD, including sectoral programs for the financial, mining, garment, and agricultural sectors.