Mr. László Balogh, head of the HNCP, gave a presentation at the 12th Annual Conference of CSR Hungary

In October 2017, one of the keynote speakers of the 12th annual conference held by CSR Hungary – the organization promoting corporate social responsibility in Hungary – was Mr. László Balogh, Deputy State Secretary for Financial Policy Affairs and head of the Hungarian National Contact Point, who gave his presentation on ‘The OECD and Responsible Business Conduct: constraint, interest or illusion?’.

The Deputy State Secretary spoke about the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the National Contact Points, focusing on the role of the Guidelines, the importance and benefits of Responsible Business Conduct. Mr. Balogh stressed that responsible corporate behaviour is in the interest of both enterprises and society. As he pointed out, the OECD Guidelines can ensure the effectiveness of Responsible Business Conduct and contribute to a mutually agreed solution of any conflicts that may arise.

He emphasized that the OECD had been working on responsible corporate behaviour for more than 40 years, but this work had intensified since the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2008 and was increasingly linked to G7 and G20 activities. In order to illustrate the economic power of some multinational enterprises, he used a figure in connection with their emerged social responsibility. The two general and nine specific chapters of the Guidelines make the recommendations comprehensive to these enterprises, whereas their implementation in the adhering countries is supported by the unique mechanism of National Contact Points.

National Contact Points still could be effective in the event of breaching the Guidelines, even in non-adhering countries where domestic legal environment has not yet fully incorporated the universally recognized international standards and norms – as Mr. Balogh demonstrated with three practical examples. It might be beneficial to find solutions to disputes concerning multinational enterprises through the specific instance procedure (complaint mechanism) of National Contact Points in other cases too as it can be less conflicting than the legal procedure: being cheaper and faster but without the expense of prestige.

Hungary joined the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in 1994. As a result of continuous and intensified work, the Government adopted the Government Decree 245/2017 (VIII.29), which has been in force since 13 September 2017, to strengthen the Hungarian National Contact Point and enforce the Guidelines for the sake of promoting and enhancing Responsible Business Conduct effectively. The Deputy State Secretary underlined that the priority of the strengthened HNCP is to strongly incentivise Responsible Business Conduct and thus to prevent and support effective conflict resolution between multinational enterprises and societal actors.

Presentation of Mr. László Balogh held on the conference of CSR Hungary, 2017