Scaling UpAction on Human Rights 
Operationalizingthe UN GuidingPrincipleson Business and HumanRights
Why this issue brief? 
To encourage more companies to take action on operationalizing the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) by...
Process 
The issue brief builds on three activities: 
Member survey –to understand the current state of play within the W...
21 contributing companies
What do the UN Guiding Principles mean for business? 
Policy commitment: adopted at the highest levels of the company, an...
UN Guiding Principles: business case 
Meet growing expectations of investors, business partners, and governments 
Respon...
5 key barriers for companies 
Barrier1 
Makinghumanrightsunderstandableand relevant 
Barrier 2 
Building internal ownershi...
Tried and tested solutions 
Barrier 1 
Making human rights understandable and relevant 
•Translate human rights into acces...
Tried and tested solutions 
Barrier 2 
Building internal ownership and commitment 
•Assign responsibility and create a man...
Tried and tested solutions 
Barrier 3 
Managing a complex business environment 
•Map human rights risks and impacts 
•Prio...
Tried and tested solutions 
Barrier 4 
Embedding in the business 
•Understand the business of the business 
•Build on exis...
Tried and tested solutions 
Barrier 5 
Dealing with uncertainty in a new paradigm 
•Engage a critical friend 
•Communicate...
The road ahead 
Advocatefor company action to prevent, mitigate and address human rights impacts –importance of UN Guidin...
More information 
Download the issue brief in pdf format at: www.wbcsd.org/social-impact.aspx 
WBCSD contact point: Filipp...
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WBCSD - Scaling up action on human rights - Operationalizing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights - Highlights of issue brief

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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.

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WBCSD - Scaling up action on human rights - Operationalizing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights - Highlights of issue brief

  1. 1. Scaling UpAction on Human Rights Operationalizingthe UN GuidingPrincipleson Business and HumanRights
  2. 2. Why this issue brief? To encourage more companies to take action on operationalizing the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) by: Building an understandingof the current state of play amongst corporations Highlighting common barriersfaced in implementing UNGPs Sharing solutionstried and tested by WCBSD members
  3. 3. Process The issue brief builds on three activities: Member survey –to understand the current state of play within the WBCSD membership Member interviews –to understand challenges encountered & solutions being implemented Member workshop –to enable “learning by sharing” and to identify common challenges & practices In partnership with With support from
  4. 4. 21 contributing companies
  5. 5. What do the UN Guiding Principles mean for business? Policy commitment: adopted at the highest levels of the company, and embedded across and throughout the business enterprise Human rights due diligence: identifying, assessing, preventing and mitigating actual and potential human rights impacts on stakeholders Remedy: establishing or participating in appropriate mechanisms and processes to provide a remedy to affected stakeholders that may have suffered harm, where the company has caused or contributed to that harm Using their leverage: to encourage and incentivize their business relationships throughout the value chain to meet these expectations Meaningful stakeholder engagement: throughout all of these processes, engaging meaningfully with those stakeholders who may be adversely affected by the company’s activities
  6. 6. UN Guiding Principles: business case Meet growing expectations of investors, business partners, and governments Respondto the growing risk of reputational harm Avoidthe commercial costs involved in human rights failures ‘Do the right thing’ and ensure that their social footprint is aligned with core corporate values Seize the opportunity to differentiate from competitors
  7. 7. 5 key barriers for companies Barrier1 Makinghumanrightsunderstandableand relevant Barrier 2 Building internal ownership and commitment Barrier3 Managinga complex business environment Barrier4 Embedding in the business Barrier5 Dealingwithuncertainty in a new paradigm
  8. 8. Tried and tested solutions Barrier 1 Making human rights understandable and relevant •Translate human rights into accessible language •Make the business case •Leverage a crisis
  9. 9. Tried and tested solutions Barrier 2 Building internal ownership and commitment •Assign responsibility and create a mandate •Leverage the policy commitment process •Link human rights to internal strategic priorities
  10. 10. Tried and tested solutions Barrier 3 Managing a complex business environment •Map human rights risks and impacts •Prioritize where necessary and learn by doing •Understand the supply chain
  11. 11. Tried and tested solutions Barrier 4 Embedding in the business •Understand the business of the business •Build on existing approaches •Share responsibility across the organization
  12. 12. Tried and tested solutions Barrier 5 Dealing with uncertainty in a new paradigm •Engage a critical friend •Communicate progress and challenges •Collaborate to address gray areas
  13. 13. The road ahead Advocatefor company action to prevent, mitigate and address human rights impacts –importance of UN Guiding Principles Connecthuman rights more strongly to the wider sustainability agenda lined out under WBCSD’s Action2020 platform Facilitatepractical engagement of companies through knowledge exchange and site visits
  14. 14. More information Download the issue brief in pdf format at: www.wbcsd.org/social-impact.aspx WBCSD contact point: Filippo Veglio, Director, Social Impact veglio@wbcsd.org

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