Human Rights

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This is a global standard addressing adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. Since that time, we've advocated for companies within our membership and beyond to embed the UNGPs into their operations. We also continue to position respect for human rights as a crucial vehicle through which business can help achieve the broader vision of peaceful and inclusive societies embraced by the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Challenge

Companies continue to face barriers to operationalizing respect for human rights across their businesses. Some examples include fostering internal awareness and leadership within their organizations to translating commitment into policies and practice in complex and dynamic global supply chains. This is set against a backdrop of enhanced expectations and scrutiny from stakeholders.

The Business Case

Understanding the human rights impacts on their business helps companies to better manage and mitigate reputational risks and minimize operational costs. Demonstrating corporate commitment to respecting human rights also leads to enhanced engagement with a variety of stakeholders and provides significant opportunities for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors.

The Business Solution

“Meeting basic needs and respecting human rights” is one of nine key priority areas within our Action2020 platform. We established our human rights business solution in 2014 with an overarching objective of operationalizing the UNGPs and considerably increasing the number of companies knowing and showing that they are respecting human rights.

We are moving this agenda forward by:

  • Advocating for business action to prevent, mitigate and address human rights impacts;
  • Advocating for human rights to be more closely linked to the overall sustainability agenda;
  • Disseminating information on emerging trends and developments while also identifying barriers and advocating solutions;
  • Facilitating partnerships to avoid duplication of work and to explore opportunities for collaboration;
  • Injecting a forward-thinking business voice into intergovernmental processes, governance and regulation.