National Contact Point of Responsible Business Conduct

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD has developed Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises requiring all adhering governments set up a National Contact Point (NCP). The Estonian NCP is situated in the Consumer and Business Counselling Department of the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority.

The guidelines represent a part of the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises aiming to ensure responsible operation of undertakings and the compliance of activities with policies of the government of the target country, improving the international investment climate and encouraging multinational enterprises to contribute to economic, social, and environmental spheres.

The guidelines are mandatory for all OECD member states and states, which have subscribed to the declaration. Estonia joined OECD on 9 December 2010.

National Contact Points have been established in each member state with two main objectives:

  • raising awareness of the guidelines on responsible business conduct and responding to enquiries about the guidelines; 
  • contributing to the resolution of issues that may arise from the alleged non-observance of the guidelines in specific instances by provision of mediation.

Estonian NCP is situated in the Consumer and Business Counselling Department of the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority. 

The Estonian NCP handles complaints about non-observance of the guidelines occurred in Estonia, and complaints submitted against Estonian companies operating in other countries. NCP helps solve specific instances related to the application of the guidelines in a specific case in an extrajudicial, impartial, and just manner in compliance with the principles set out in the guidelines. 

Generally, specific instances are dealt with by the NCP of the country in which the issues have arisen. If necessary, NCPs of other relevant countries are involved. Complaint can be submitted by an organisation or a private person with a legitimate interest to raise the issue. 

NCP 

  • does not handle anonymous complaints
  • does not handle issues that occurred more than 3 years ago
  • does not cover the costs of the stakeholders related to the meeting
  • tries find a solution within a year

To submit a complaint, please send a filled complaint form in Estonian or English by e-mail to ncp.estonia@ttja.ee, or by regular mail at:

NCP Estonia
Consumer and Business Counselling Department

Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority

Endla 10a, 10122 Tallinn

Estonia

The complaint will be submitted to the company against whom the complaint is being issued. In case the submitter of the complaint wishes confidentiality concerning sensitive information, it must be clearly indicated to the NCP together with relevant justification. To ensure the security, the NCP is not obliged to publish the name of the submitter of the complaint. 

Complaint handling procedure

The prerequisite for commencing proceedings is the submission of a complaint to the NCP. The parties to a complaint are the complainant and the enterprise against whose activities the complaint is submitted (hereinafter jointly the parties). The NCP sends the complainant a confirmation of receiving the complaint by e-mail within 10 business days.

Within three months of the submission of the complaint, the NCP conducts an initial assessment on whether the NCP is competent to handle the complaint, assessing whether the issue has been submitted in a good faith and is relevant from the point of view of the implementation of the guidelines. In doing that, the NCP shall consider the following:

  1. the identity of the party concerned and its interest in the matter; 
  2. whether the issue is material and substantiated; 
  3. whether there seems to be a link between the enterprise’s activities and the issue raised in the specific instance; 
  4. the relevance of applicable law and procedures, including court rulings; 
  5. how similar issues have been, or are being, treated in other domestic or international proceedings; 
  6. whether the consideration of the specific issue would contribute to the purposes and effectiveness of the guidelines.

The NCP hears the complainant and the enterprise against whose activities the complaint is submitted, if necessary.

The NCP aims at concluding an initial assessment within three months, which the complaint handler may extend depending on the circumstances and complexity of the case. 

The NCP draws up a written resolution together with the reasons for acceptance or rejection of the complaint and sends it to both parties by e-mail. Initial assessment contains the circumstances of the complaint, conclusion of the activities performed and justification of the NCP about why it decided to carry on with the proceeding or terminate it. The NCP publishes the resolution of the decision on the website of the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority taking into account the necessity to protect sensitive information. 

The NCP aims at making the decision within six months, but the actual length depends on the circumstances and the role of the parties in the proceeding.

When accepting the case, the NCP hears the parties jointly and/or separately, involves experts, other authorities or interested parties, if necessary. The NCP carries out a mediation process helping the parties negotiate to find a mutually acceptable solution in the form of an agreement. The NCP may involve a third person to mediate the parties.

Information received during the mediation process is confidential. If the parties refuse from the mediation process or fail to reach an agreement or if the NCP considers reaching the agreement to be unlikely, the NCP describes in the decision the proceedings carried out and refers to the reasons for failure to reach an agreement, as well as to issues requiring additional attention, if necessary.

The NCP aims at drafting a final statement within 3 months after the conclusion of the substantive discussion of the issue.

The NCP sends the draft decision to the parties for commenting. The NCP shall consider the comments but is not bound to them.

If the parties reach an agreement, the NCP publishes the decision with the conclusions of the process. The content of the agreement will be published only if the parties agree to it.

If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the NCP describes the proceedings carried out and refers to the reasons for failure to reach an agreement, as well as to issues requiring additional attention, if necessary. The results of processing the complaint are not disclosed if maintaining their confidentiality is prudent for efficient application of the guidelines. 

If a party finds the NCP has violated the rules of procedure, it may submit a complaint to the NCP.

The NCP notifies the OECD Investment Committee of the results of processing the complaint within three months after the end of the proceedings

Within one year after the end of processing the complaint at the latest, the NCP sends an inquiry to the parties regarding a mutual agreement reached or adoption of the recommendations. Within 18 months after the publishing of the resolution to end the processing of the complaint at the latest, the NCP publishes a summarised assessment on adoption of the agreement or recommendations on their website, except in cases where maintaining their confidentiality is prudent for efficient application of the guidelines.

Last updated: 08.10.2021