IV. Italian ongoing activities and future commitments
a) Foundational principles
“Italy reaffirms the commitment made by signing the OECD Declaration for International Investors and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies in promoting the standards of conduct expected in many areas, including human rights.” (p. 15)
Responsible Conduct and Due Diligence in the framework of the United Nations, OECD and European Union
“In the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Guidelines for Multinational Companies introduced Due Diligence, requiring business companies, apart from their territorial performance, to voluntarily integrate into their decisionmaking and risk management systems a process that allows them to identify, prevent and mitigate their impact – primarily on human rights – and to account for their approach. The establishment of the network of National Contact Points for Responsible Business Conduct has provided for monitoring the conduct of business activities to ensuring the effective implementation of the Guidelines, including Due Diligence throughout the supply chain.
Italy has followed the above-mentioned process and will continue to provide its contribution to the international debate, taking into proper consideration not only potential risks depending upon lack of Due Diligence but also the factual impact of business conduct stemming from a scarce Due Diligence.” (p. 44)
Internationalization of Companies
“Within the Italian framework, several non-judicial mechanisms coexist, placed within the institutional framework or functionally connected to it, with a divergent mandate and impact from the decision-making point of view. These are placed side by side to the judicial system and are characterized by structural and operational features that are easier and more accessible as well as less expensive and faster, while granting independence and effectiveness.
This category includes the National Contact Point (NCP) in charge of promoting the widest implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises by Italian companies of all sizes and sectors. The Italian NCP was established in 2002 under Art. 39 of Law No. 273/2002, and is located at the Ministry of Economic Development – Division VI of the Directorate General for Industrial Policy, Innovation and Small and Medium Enterprises.
According to the OECD database, the chapters of the Guidelines most affected by Instances to the Italian NCP are: “General principles” and “Human rights” on an equal footing, “Disclosure of information”; and “Employment and industrial relations”
As to the use of the Government’s economic leverage to ensure that companies follow the recommendations by the NCP, this goes beyond the OECD Guidelines which only encourage NCPs to “inform governmental agencies of their statements and reports when they are known by the NCP to be relevant to a specific agency’s policies and programmes”. Nevertheless, the NCP signed a MoU with SACE to exchange information informally so that they could coordinate their tasks and policies. The Italian NCP also recently created a new sub-group for specific work on COVID-19 and Responsible Business Conduct” (p. 56)
ANNEX 1 – Accountability Grid and Assessment Tools for the Implementation of the NAP
“25. With regard to the OECD Guidelines and National Contact Point, Italy undertakes to: i) consolidate the promotion of compliance with the UNGPs by companies operating abroad, through an information tool for the diplomatic/consular network, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; ii) implement the OECD Guidelines through their promotion among companies with particular regard to human rights dimension, and consolidate the constant dialogue with companies, trade unions, NGOs and representatives of civil society.” (p. 65)
“28. Develop guidelines for companies (with particular regard to SMEs) and guidance tools related to different productive sectors, in line with the activity aimed at disseminating guidance tools developed by the OECD, the European Union and other international organizations (IOM).” (p. 66)
“32. Participate in relevant OECD, European Union and other international initiatives on sustainable supply chains, human rights and Due Diligence.” (p. 66)
“33. Promote the OECD document “COVID-19 and Responsible Business Conduct”, in line with Italy’s adherence to the Joint Statement in support of the full development of NCP skills, the Business at OECD (BIAC), OECD Watch and TUAC and the call launched in May 2020 for the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies.” (p. 66)
“38. Further promote awareness of the OECD Guides on Due Diligence for Companies Operating in Weak Governance Zones (the “Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Companies in Weak Governance Zones” and the “Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas”)” (p. 67)
“56. Renewed and broader information, especially for stakeholders as victims, of the mechanism of ‘Specific Instances’ to the NCP, in relation to alleged human rights violations by companies.” (p. 69)