Human rights due diligence
Produced in partnership with Ardea International
Human rights due diligence

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Ardea International provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Human rights due diligence
  • Why is human rights due diligence important?
  • Defining human rights due diligence
  • Human rights due diligence in practice
  • Human rights due diligence in international instruments
  • The UNGPs
  • The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
  • The Global Reporting Initiative
  • OECD Guidelines
  • The Equator Principles
  • More...

Why is human rights due diligence important?

Human rights due diligence is not currently a legal requirement in the UK but is accepted good industry practice driven by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The practical reality is that it is becoming increasingly possible for companies and their directors to become liable for overlooking their human rights due diligence duties. Aspects of the responsibility to respect human rights may be compelled by national law, for example through health and safety and non discrimination or environmental laws. It is also increasingly recognised that it is good business practice to manage potential human rights risks associated with the company’s activities, in the same way that companies manage risks such as environmental damage or bribery.

There are, however, discussions in Europe to make human rights due diligence mandatory. The European Commission has committed to tabling an EU-wide human rights due diligence law by June 2021.

On 10 March 2021 the European Parliament voted for the adoption of a binding EU law that requires companies to conduct environmental and human rights due diligence along their full value chain or face concrete fines, sanctions and/or civil liability. Through the vote, the European Parliament has expressly requested that the Commission submit without undue delay a directive on such mandatory due diligence. Member states are then to transpose such

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