In June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This move established the Guiding Principles as the global standard of practice that is now expected of all States and businesses with regard to business and human rights. While they do not by themselves constitute a legally binding document, the Guiding Principles elaborate on the implications of existing standards and practices for States and businesses, and include points covered variously in international and domestic law. The Guiding Principles outline the specific steps companies should to conduct human rights due diligence.
In June 2016, ETI published its new Human Rights Due Diligence Framework. This document serves as a guide for companies to help manage and mitigate labour rights risks, and understand why engagement, negotiation and collaboration is the best way to succeed. It was developed through a collaborative approach with senior representatives of ETI’s tripartite membership group which includes trade unions, companies and NGO’s, and is closely aligned to ETI’s Base Code and Principles of Implementation, the UNGP’s, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Shift’s UNGP Reporting Framework and other relevant human rights standards and guidelines.
The Framework has been designed to set out a practical approach to conducting human rights due diligence with a focus on labour rights. The executive summary is also available in Spanish.
This Interpretive Guide, which focuses on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights was developed by OHCHR and in collaboration with the former UN Special Representative. It offers additional background explanation to the Guiding Principles to support a full understanding of their meaning and intent. It is designed to support the process of effective implementation.
This paper sets out the implications that the UN Framework for Business and Human Rights and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights have for business enterprises concerning the human rights of workers to form or join trade unions and to bargain collectively over the conditions under which they perform work. It was produced by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Global Unions, IndustriALL, and the Clean Clothes Campaign.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide non-binding principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a global context consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognised standards. The Guidelines are the only multilaterally agreed and comprehensive code of responsible business conduct that governments have committed to promoting.
The OECD and the UN FAO have developed guidance to help enterprises observe standards of responsible business conduct to ensure that their operations do not lead to adverse impacts and contribute to sustainable development
Information provided by the UK Government on how to make a complaint in the UK when the OECD guidelines have not been adhered to.
Launched in February 2015, the UNGP Reporting Framework has been developed through the Human Rights Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative (RAFI) and is co-facilitated by Shift and Mazars. The Reporting Framework provides companies with a concise set of questions designed to facilitate self-evaluation in order to know and show that it is meeting its responsibility to respect human rights in practice. It offers companies guidance on how to answer these questions with relevant and meaningful information about their human rights policies, processes and performance.
This portal on human rights due diligence includes tools and guidance as well as examples of implementation and uses.
The Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate practices. Launched in 2000, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 8,000 companies and 4,000 non-business signatories based in over 170 countries, and more than 85 Local Networks.
Produced by the Ethical Trading Initiative Norway (IEH), with funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the guide describes how all enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises can carry out due diligence to prevent violations of human rights. IEH is a resource centre and an advocate for ethical trade practices. IEH is a part of the Norwegian Government’s consultative body on matters relating to CSR (KOMpakt)
Due Diligence Legislation
The EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (2014) which came into force in 2016, requires companies’ strategic reporting to include specific, structured and detailed information on human rights.
The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013 - amended in 2013, requires companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange to report on their human rights performance.
UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 has a legal requirement for companies to consider their due diligence systems as the basis for annual statements that set out the steps they are taking to prevent, mitigate and act on risks of modern slavery in their supply chains.
Section 35 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act (2015) enables individuals in corporations, corporate partnerships or associations to be held liable for the commissioning of human trafficking and exploitation criminal offences, and to be punished accordingly.
French Due diligence proposal – draft bill requiring companies to implement due diligence in supply chains (2015)
Californian Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010 requires retail sellers and manufacturers doing business in the state to disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their direct supply chains for tangible goods offered for sale
The US Executive Order 13627 (2015) requires all federal public procurement contracts to be screened and assessed to prevent human trafficking in supply chains.