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Guidance on Business and Human Rights (General)

In 2008, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, John Ruggie, submitted the report “Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights” to the UN Human Rights Council. The “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework aimed at providing a more coherent and concerted approach to the issue of business and human rights and is organized in three pillars: 1) The state duty to protect human rights, 2) The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and 3) Access to remedy.

The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were also developed by John Ruggie, and endorsed by the Human Rights Council in 2011. The Guiding Principles provide a global standard for states and companies to prevent and address the actual and potential adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. They include 31 principles presented in three sections that reflect the three pillars of the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework.

This guide aims to help companies understand the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It was developed in collaboration with the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

This guide is a comprehen­sive guide for companies of all sizes, industries and locations. It is aimed to help company staff understand the key expectations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: what to do – and what to avoid – in trying to ensure respect for human rights. Readers are provided with practical advice, examples of policies and practice from other companies, current discussion topics like the Sustainable Development Goals, and in-depth case stories with additional materials on an accompanying website. It is also easily navigated and beautifully illustrated. 

This blueprint aims to support company representatives in driving the effort of embedding human rights across the departments of the organisation. The embedding process is broken down into six steps, explained through general principles and illustrated with practical examples of 18 interviewed companies (including Oil & Gas). 

The Reporting Framework is a concise set of questions to help companies analyse and report on their responsibility to respect human rights in practice. The Framework “offers companies clear and straightforward guidance on how to answer these questions with relevant and meaningful information about their human rights policies, processes and performance.” The questions are designed to enable responses from any company, including small companies and those at an early stage in the process. The Reporting Framework is available as an online platform and as a PDF. 

This web-based course on human rights and business aims to help managers and staff of companies understand what human rights are and how they are relevant to their business operations. The course comprises five modules: 1) Introduction to human rights; 2) Respecting human rights; 3) Supporting human rights; 4) Complicity; and 5) Remedy. It includes relevant links, exercises, case studies and a self-assessment test.

IFC’s Policy on Environmental and Social Sustainability defines IFC’s commitments, roles and responsibilities related to environmental and social sustainability. It establishes that “proposed investments that are determined to have moderate to high levels of environmental and/or social risk, or the potential for adverse environmental and/or social impacts will be carried out in accordance with requirements of the Performance Standards.”

IFC’s Performance Standards “establish standards that the client is to meet throughout the life of an investment by IFC.” The eight Performance Standards address the following issues: 1) Assessment and management of environmental and social risks and impacts; 2) Labor and working conditions; 3) Resource efficiency and pollution prevention; 4) Community health, safety, and security; 5) Land acquisition and involuntary resettlement; 6) Biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of living natural resources; 7) Indigenous peoples; and 8) Cultural heritage.

This publication explains “universally recognized human rights in a way that makes sense to business” (Introduction to “Human Rights Translated”) by illustrating the relevance of human rights to companies and showing how human rights issues can be managed. Section 1 of the document covers human rights included in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, while Section 2 covers rights from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

This guidance document is aimed to help companies develop and implement a good human rights policy. It outlines why companies should respect human rights, what the key ingredients of a human rights policy are and provides practical steps and examples to develop and implement one.  

These Guidelines comprise a set of recommendations, addressed by OECD governments to multinational enterprises, consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognised standards. These recommendations are grouped in the following sections: IV) Human rights, V) Employment and industrial relations, VI) Environment, VII) Combating bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion, VIII) Consumer interests, IX) Science and technology, X) Competition, and XI) Taxation.

GRI is a not-for-profit organization that has developed a Sustainability Reporting Framework with the aim of making sustainability reporting a standard practice for all companies and organizations. The Framework is “a reporting system that provides metrics and methods for measuring and reporting sustainability-related impacts and performance.”

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