Business and human rights
Human rights are an increasingly important aspect of corporate social responsibility. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights [1 MB] define what companies and governments should do to avoid and address possible negative human rights impacts by business. The EU encourages and contributes to implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. Many EU Member States are developing national plans on business and human rights.
Human rights guides for enterprises in 3 business sectors
The European Commission has published practical human rights guidance for enterprises in 3 business sectors:
These guides, written by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and Shift, are the outcome of an intensive multistakeholder process, and are consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They take particular account of the experience of EU companies, but aim to be as globally applicable as possible. The guides are not intended to be legally binding.
Resources on human rights for smaller businesses
- Introductory guide to human rights for SMEs [2 MB] Click on the icon to the left for different language versions. This guide was written by a team from GLOBAL CSR and BBI.
- Five short case studies [2 MB] of European small and medium-sized enterprises addressing human rights.
- Choose your language (English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish) by clicking at the bottom of the image on "Human rights (7 videos)"
- Statement from Stavros Lambrinidis , EU Special Representative on Human Rights, and first UN Business and Human Rights Forum, December 2012.
- Analysis of references made by large EU companies to international CSR guidelines and principles.
- The independent Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is a good source of information in this field.
Report on the existing legal framework for human rights and the environment [2 MB]
Written by a team from the University of Edinburgh, this report analyses the existing legal framework for human rights and the environment applicable to European Union companies operating outside the EU.
Study on Responsible Supply Chain Management [4 MB]
This report focuses on three industrial sectors (cotton, sugar cane and mobile phones) in relation to some key CSR supply chain management issues, trying to identify good practices and challenges.