Human rights

Every business needs to ensure their policies, processes and procedures do no harm.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), established the responsibility of the business community to respect human rights. In recent years, the fundamental principles of these voluntary requirements are shifting from soft to hard law, in an increasing number of jurisdictions.

Whether companies are directly impacted by legislation depends on where the business is incorporated and operating, but due to the interconnected nature of the global economy, many companies are being impacted indirectly, via their business relationships. It is therefore essential that every business ensures its policies, processes and procedures enable them to ‘know and show’, the steps they are taking to ensure respect for human rights across the full value chain.

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Our approach

We co-wrote the UNGP Reporting Framework and Assurance Guidance in collaboration with Shift. We support our clients throughout their full human rights due diligence and reporting journey, using the framework as the basis for our approach.

Our human rights services

Human rights due diligence

Underpinning the UNGPs is the concept of human rights due diligence; the process a business must go through in order to “know” where human rights are at risk of being negatively impacted by its activities, and "show", through reporting, how it is working to prevent or mitigate these risks, how it monitors the effectiveness of its program and how it provides for remedy when things go wrong. Our specialist team are available to:

  • Analyse risks and impacts related to human rights via a comprehensive risk assessment to identify salient issues.
  • Provide a gap analysis of your current human rights management processes and best practice recommendations.
  • Deliver stakeholder analysis and engagement, including with impacted and potentially impacted stakeholders, where appropriate.
  • Design and assist in the implementation of appropriate procedures and controls to mitigate adverse human rights impacts.
  • Design an appropriate internal monitoring methodology, including the development of KPIs to measure progress.
  • Design escalation and remediation policies and procedures to respond to actual impacts when identified.
  • Training on human rights for C-suite, risk committee, internal auditors, procurement and other departments required to uphold the company’s commitment.

Human rights reporting

To ensure the report you develop and publish is robust, aligned with the principles enshrined in the UNGPs, and reflective of a comprehensive human rights program, we will develop systems and processes to support you with:

  • Developing a communications strategy that relays the business’s commitment to human rights and how it is addressing the risk of its impacts.
  • Engaging with stakeholders to inform reporting.
  • Reviewing, tracking and reporting performance and recommending industry best practices that are applicable to the company.
  • Drafting of standalone human rights reports, relevant sections to wider sustainability reports, or incorporating relevant elements into your Strategic Report (UK) or Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive report (EU).

Independent assurance of your human rights report

Independent assurance has a vital role in enhancing the credibility of how the company speaks about its risks and performance on human rights and it will become a mandatory requirement, under new legislation such as the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

As the co-authors of the UNGP Reporting Framework Assurance Guidance, we are in a leading position to provide independent assurance on your human rights report.

Our specialists are available to:

  • Provide assurance readiness, ensuring your report stands up to scrutiny by a 3rd party assurance provider.
  • Support you in developing the systems and controls needed to evidence a robust human rights program and report.
  • Develop assurance-ready KPIs to assess your human rights progress.
  • Provide a limited assurance opinion on your full report or selected human rights KPIs. For more information on the most appropriate assurance opinion for your work, please see ESG Assurance.
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Get in touch

To discuss your business and human rights process, please contact us using the details below.

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