“Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights, which means to act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others”
- UN Global Compact on Corporate Responsibility and Human Rights Report, 2009
“The principles of human rights due diligence and its core elements should be internalised by all businesses regardless of their nature or size.”
- Professor John Ruggie – Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
How confident are you that processes within your business comply with the UN Human Rights Principles?
These days, companies in the sectors of extractive industries, banking, retail and others, are facing operations, suppliers and customers located all over the world who increasingly demand far more transparent and accountable disclosure of human rights’ risks and impacts. Business partners, investors, institutions and governments are demanding more integrated and sustainable reporting in respect of companies’ consideration of human rights. Bodies within sectors are setting global standards and principles by which companies should adhere eg. Equator Principles for banks, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative for oil, gas and mining companies. Furthermore, investors are increasingly seeking ethical business practices when making decisions to invest.
At the same time, the digital world of today facilitates the rapid propagation of information over a wide network. Customers can easily use social media to disparage companies. This has changed the rules of the game; an increased emphasis on human rights at a time when information is becoming more readily available and easily communicated across the globe. All corporations are under pressure to conform.
Towards a human rights culture
Undertaking human rights due diligence can help companies attract investment. Many corporations believe that showing respect for human rights gives them a commercial advantage over competitors who overlook the area. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a growing number of smaller companies in the supply chains of global corporations are themselves developing an explicit human rights position in order to attract business, as they know that some multinationals demand such standards of their suppliers and business partners.
Mazars can assist you in developing a human rights culture that becomes embedded throughout your organisation. We can assist in the design of your corporate human rights strategy, the drafting of policies, the preparation of Standard Operating Procedures, the design of a communications strategy, the provision of training, the measurement of impacts, and the external audit of your human rights policies and controls.
Implementation of a complete human rights programme can be achieved through five key phases:
- Phase 1: Planning
- Phase 2: Defining the strategy
- Phase 3: Scoping the policies
- Phase 4: Engagement with workforce and stakeholders
- Phase 5: Evaluation
Whilst the first three phases should be necessary for all, the remaining two phases can be adopted as and when appropriate.
Our human rights team has in-depth experience advising global companies on the issue of human rights across a wide range of sectors.