Human rights and your organisation

The cost of inaction

The cost of breaching human rights can hurt a business financially as well as damaging relationships, brand credibility and consumer confidence. While human rights breaches are at the more extreme end of the scale, businesses also need to be aware of the risks and costs of inaction and paying ‘lip service’ to human rights. 

Saying your business respects human rights is no longer enough. People need to see that you are. And with the rise of social media, everyone's a reporter. So what may seem like an innocent or unintentional slip up can result in unwanted media headlines.

The human rights commitments of other companies can also mean they will not do business with organisations unless they see human rights are being respected.

This is not just a moral issue. How you address human rights will make a difference to how you are perceived, minimise your risk and ultimately, add value to your business.

'Corporations have a responsibility to respect human rights - they must not only ensure compliance with national laws, but also manage risks of human rights harms with a view to avoiding them.' 

John Ruggie, Harvard University, former UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights

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Case studies

This podcast discusses the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Right and the costs to businesses of not implementing sound human rights practices.