Business and human rights
Produced in partnership with CLT Envirolaw
Business and human rights

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with CLT Envirolaw provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Business and human rights
  • What are the UN Guiding Principles?
  • What is a business core responsibility under the Guiding Principles?
  • Why should in-house lawyers know about the Guiding Principles?
  • What is the Law Society doing?
  • Are these new legal principles?
  • What does business have to do?
  • Practical steps for a business

What are the UN Guiding Principles?

In June 2011 the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The UN Human Rights Council asked the UN special representative Professor John Ruggie to ‘operationalize’ the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework’ that was previously published, following three years of research and consultations. He was asked to do this by providing concrete and practical recommendations for its implementation.

These ‘Guiding Principles’ form the third and final report and are the result of extensive discussions undertaken with stakeholder groups, including Governments, business enterprises and associations, individuals and communities directly affected by the activities of enterprises in various parts of the world, civil society and experts in many areas of law and policy that the Guiding Principles touch on. The extensive consultation is meant to establish a global platform for action.

What is a business core responsibility under the Guiding Principles?

The core responsibility for business under the UN Guiding Principles is to respect human rights. It applies to all business. There are no exceptions.

It means that organisations must:

  1. not infringe human rights

  2. address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved, both through their own activities and through their business relationships