For more than 40 years, the OECD has been one of the world's largest and most reliable sources of comparable statistics and economic and social data. As well as collecting data, the OECD monitors trends, analyses and forecasts economic developments and researches social changes or evolving patterns in trade, environment, agriculture, technology, taxation and more.
The OECD provides a setting where governments compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and coordinate domestic and international policies.
The OECD brings together governments of countries committed to democracy and the market economy from around the world to:
support sustainable economic growth;
raise living standards;
maintain financial stability;
assist other countries' economic development; and contribute to growth in world trade.
Originally published in May 1999 (updated in 2002 and revised in 2004), the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance (www.oecd.org) responded to growing awareness of the importance of good corporate governance for investor confidence and national economic performance.
The Principles are a living instrument offering non-binding standards and good practices as well as guidance on implementation, which can be adapted to the specific circumstances of individual countries and regions.
It also represents the first initiative by an inter-governmental organisation to develop increased transparency, integrity and the rule of law as core elements of a good corporate governance regime.
Therefore, the Principles can be used:
as a benchmark by governments as they evaluate and improve their laws and regulations; and by private sector parties which have a role in developing corporate governance systems and best practices.
to embrace different models that exist.
The Principles cover five areas:
1. Rights of shareholders—protection of shareholders' rights and key ownership functions.
2. Equitable treatment of shareholders—ensuring the equitable treatment of all shareholders, including minority and foreign shareholders.
3. Role of stakeholders—recognising the rights of stakeholders (including employees) as established by law and encouraging active cooperation between corporations and stakeholders in creating wealth, jobs and financial sustainability.
4. Disclosure and transparency—ensuring that timely and accurate disclosure (transparency) is made on all material matters regarding the corporation, including the financial situation, performance, ownership and governance of the company.
5. Responsibilities of the board—ensuring the strategic guidance of the company, the effective monitoring of management by the board and the board's accountability to the company and its shareholders (the responsibilities of the board).