What business needs to know about human rights
What business needs to know about human rights

The following Risk & Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What business needs to know about human rights
  • Human rights standards and initiatives
  • The UN Global Compact
  • The UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights
  • The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • Sector-specific initiatives
  • Human rights—some key concepts
  • Internationally recognised human rights
  • Adverse human rights impact
  • Due diligence
  • More...

What business needs to know about human rights

It is increasingly acknowledged that human rights are not just a concern for nation states and international organisations. Business organisations operate around the world with increasingly complex structures and supply chains. Their operations can have a number of impacts, good and bad, on human rights. This has led to the development of a number of international initiatives aimed at increasing business awareness of, and respect for, human rights.

This Practice Note sets out the key issues business organisations need to know about human rights. It summarises the requirements of the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights and the UN Global Compact and the obligation on organisations to respect human rights. It also considers the business case for organisations to respect human rights.

Human rights standards and initiatives

The UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact (UNGC) is a voluntary initiative set up in 2000 under the auspices of the United Nations. Its aim is to involve commercial and 'non-business' organisations, such as academic institutions, not-for-profits and public sector organisations, in the promotion of responsible and sustainable business. Organisations that sign up to the UNGC pledge to:

  1. operate responsibly, in accordance with ten principles of sustainability encompassing human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption.

  2. advance the principles within the organisation's sphere of influence

  3. demonstrate top-level commitment, including a published

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