In its latest issue brief, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) identifies a series of barriers and solutions to operationalizing the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The latter establish an authoritative global standard on the respective roles of businesses and governments in helping ensure that companies respect human rights in their own operations and through their business relationships.
The brief, titled Scaling up Action on Human Rights: Operationalizing the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, builds on the hands-on experiences of several WBCSD member companies in their efforts to implement the UNGPs, including: ABB, Anglo American, ArcelorMittal, Coca-Cola, DSM, Eni, HEINEKEN, Hitachi, Holcim, JPMorgan Chase, Michelin, Nestlé, Novartis, RWE, Total, Unilever, and Vale. It also draws from the results of the survey of WBCSD members on the implementation of the UNGPs as well as the broader experience of experts that have worked with companies on these issues across the globe.
Specifically, the brief intends to:
- Create a better understanding of the current state of play amongst corporations
- Highlight some of the most common barriers faced by companies in their efforts to implement the UNGPs
- Share solutions tried and tested by WBCSD members to overcome these barriers
These insights are useful for companies at all stages of their human rights journey. For companies that are kick-starting their human rights activities – and trying to determine how best to ‘dive in’ – the brief provides a menu of practical steps that might help them get started, which their peers have found to be most important and effective. For companies with more experience, the brief identifies additional strategies that may help them to overcome persistent challenges.
The WBCSD has been pleased to partner with Shift on this topic. Shift, an independent, non-profit center for business and human rights practice, led a series of interviews and a workshop across the summer of 2014 with WBCSD member companies and partners, which contributed to the shaping of this brief.