The first two principles of the UN Global Compact, which are derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are:
Respecting and supporting human rights remains one of the most challenging areas of corporate sustainability. This is because, in part, human rights have traditionally been the concern of States, and international human rights instruments are addressed to them. However, in the lead up to, and following the endorsement of, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the Human Rights Council in 2011, more businesses are coming to realize their legal, moral and/or commercial need to address human rights issues within their own activities and their business relationships. At the same time they are confronted with a number of challenges. For example, there is the need to come to grips with the human rights framework and how a company’s own activities might relate to it. In addition, companies are often uncertain of how to avoid complicity in human rights abuse and where the boundaries of their human rights responsibility lie.
The Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum enables businesses and stakeholders to explore such challenges in an interactive way in the context of approximately 25 human rights and business themes. Access the Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum.
Regardless of size or operational context, all companies can benefit from tools and guidance to help them with their implementation efforts. The UN Global Compact strives to bring more clarity to this field by highlighting the relevance of human rights for business, demonstrating the business case for human rights, emphasizing practical solutions and pointing to useful tools and guidance materials. The Human Rights and Labor Working Group also produces Good Practice Notes and case studies that identify approaches that have been recognized by a number of businesses and stakeholders as being good for business and good for human rights. This activity is in keeping with the goal of showing that advancing human rights is not just about managing risks and meeting standards and expectations; it can also be about realizing new opportunities for sustainable growth.
To learn more and to test your knowledge, access the Human Rights and Business Learning Tool, prepared by the Global Compact and OHCHR. A certificate is available upon successful completion.