Effective Human Rights Due Diligence: Using it to streamline compliance efforts

With kind acknowledgements to Ksapa. First posted on the Ksapa blog under the title Using Effective Human Rights Due Diligence to Streamline Compliance Efforts.

To truly understand Human Rights, one must dive deeper to understand subthemes of gender, harassment, forced labor, child trafficking, and rightsholders perspectives, among 100+ others, under the “Duty of Vigilance”.  Duty of Vigilance includes reasonable measures to identify risks and prevent impact on fundamental freedoms for individuals and the environment, or “Do no harm”.  

Investors and other constituents are increasingly focusing on these issues with all the complex questions of public and private companies in mind with an aim to understand and mitigate risks across their entire operational supply chains.

Legally-binding instruments are on the rise which ultimately lend more teeth to Human Rights Due Diligence. While this creates a mosaic of risk management efforts, various initiatives provide a framework for non-financial risk management (including the upcoming broad EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, country level due diligence initiatives the like France’s Duty of Care Law, Germany’s Supply Chain Due Diligence Act or recently released Norway’s Transparency Act or much more targeted initiative the like USA’s Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act – UFLPA).

With jurisdictional legislation becoming increasingly nuanced on a country-by-country basis in order to address the issues of Human Rights, companies must be aware of the Human Rights Legislative agenda in Europe (France, Germany, The Netherlands) and most recently in Norway (2022); in ASEAN markets (Australia); and the USA with the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. 

However, they operate on different methodologies and even culture. Risk management endeavours to remedy challenges to an organization; Human Rights due diligence seeks out the perspective of rightsholders. So just how do we ensure Human Rights performance is not another check-the-box exercise but in fact demonstrates impact and actual risk mitigation?

  1. Learn how to become more effective at the intersections of Human Rights Due Diligence, Compliance and Jurisdiction.
  2. Learn how to better understand the worldwide plethora of legal and ethical initiatives and the nuances of priorities and social justice agendas.
  3. Learn a 5-point plan of Human Rights action your company can engage to mitigate risk. 
  4. Learn about the overlap of UN Guiding Principles, OECD and other agendas to be multi-agency compliant.
  5. Learn how to develop public-private partnership coalitions to address Human Rights.

Farid Baddache, Thomas Thomas, and Eric Ekern
Farid Baddache, Thomas Thomas, and Eric Ekern

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The Council on Business & Society (The CoBS), visionary in its conception and purpose, was created in 2011, and is dedicated to promoting responsible leadership and tackling issues at the crossroads of business and society including sustainability, diversity, ethical leadership and the place responsible business has to play in contributing to the common good.  

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