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Freshfields’ Lorand Bartels appointed to steering committee for UK’s National Contact Point for Multinational Enterprises

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) trade law counsel Lorand Bartels MBE has been appointed by the UK Department for Business & Trade to serve on the Steering Board for the UK National Contact Point (NCP) for Multinational Enterprises.

Confirmed by UK Minister of State for International Trade Nigel Huddleston MP, Bartels’ new role is effective immediately for a fixed period of three years.

Bartels’ appointment will help increase awareness of and adherence to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for multinationals on responsible business conduct – demonstrating the UK as a global leader across policy areas including the environment, human rights, labour, corruption and disclosure.

Tom Younespour, Chair of the UK National Contact Point Steering Board, said: “I welcome Lorand’s appointment to the UK NCP Steering Board and look forward to his contributions to advance responsible business conduct in line with our OECD commitments.”

Freshfields trade counsel Lorand Bartels, said: “I am delighted to be able to help the government promote responsible business conduct by UK enterprises. This is important not only for the UK's reputation as a global player, but, as part of a wider OECD network, the NCP framework helps to ensure a level playing field for all multinationals operating around the world.”

Freshfields Head of Client Sustainability & Environment Jake Reynolds said: “As a firm, Freshfields is committed to applying the highest standards of responsibility in its own business, from pioneering efforts to improve diversity such as the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Programme, to implementing science-based targets on climate change and leading one of the world’s top pro bono and business and human rights practices. The firm is also expanding its client sustainability work across a wide spectrum from litigation to M&A, supply chain scrutiny to tax and trade.”

The UK has made a commitment to maintain an NCP for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The OECD Guidelines are recommendations from OECD member states to businesses and the only comprehensive international instrument on responsible business conduct.

The UK NCP is responsible for raising awareness of the OECD Guidelines, and for implementing the complaints mechanism under which civil society actors can bring complaints to the NCP about multinational enterprises not complying with the guidelines. The Steering Board does not decide on complaints but is responsible for the proper conduct of the complaints process. The NCP Steering Board meets four times per year in London.

Bartels is Chair of the UK Trade and Agriculture Commission, an independent body which advises the government and parliament on how newly signed UK Free Trade Agreements relate to the UK’s laws on animal welfare, animal and plant health, and the environment.

He received an MBE in the Queen’s 2022 New Year Honours for services to UK trade policy.

Further information on the UK NCP can be found here.