Expectations of business as set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

This briefing note explores human rights considerations for business in light of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
Key topics
  • Overview on the UN Guiding Principles
  • The definition of human rights
  • The business imperative
  • First steps for developing a human rights policy
  • The wider scope for human rights and business

Historically, human rights have been regarded as a matter for governments with the involvement of companies being limit to complying with domestic laws where they operate.

However, since the unanimous endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights since their publication in 2011 means there is now an authoritative global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse human rights impacts linked to business activity.

In addition to providing an overview of the UN Guiding Principles, this briefing note explores the definition of human rights, the business case and imperative, the first steps in developing a human rights policy and the wider scope of human rights and business.

The wider scope touches upon a number of areas that can pose a heightened risk to human rights and covers:

  • the workplace

  • migrant workers

  • supply chains

  • local communities

  • oppressive regimes

  • consumers