Human rights and your organisation

Valuing human rights adds value

Embedding human rights into your core business practices can lead to significant economic and social advantages. Businesses like Coca-Cola and Unilever are actively respecting human rights and already seeing the benefits. 

Human rights practices have a range of benefits for business: 

  • enhancing and safeguarding your reputation and brand image
  • highlighting human and environmental risks before technical or investment decisions are made
  • reducing costs associated with labour disputes, security issues and stakeholder damage control – such as public campaigns and criticism
  • reducing the risk of costly litigation
  • improving governance
  • enhancing reporting to stock exchanges or non-financial performance
  • preventing complaints to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.

Valuing human rights also creates new business opportunities by:

  • increasing staff loyalty, improving recruitment possibilities and fostering greater productivity through a settled workplace 
  • gaining a strategic advantage with competitors in emerging and niche markets
  • strengthening brand reputation and customer loyalty
  • meeting the needs of the growing market or conscious consumer
  • strengthening your company's social licence to operate through stronger relationships with governments, business partners, non-government organisations, local communities, trade unions, sub-contractors and suppliers
  • increasing access to finance by meeting the growing pool of socially responsible investors
  • increasing access to government contracts.

This applies to big business only, right?

Not at all. There are lots of examples of smaller businesses that are actively promoting good human rights practices. This not only reinforces their right to operate but directly targets the growing market of conscious consumers. There are real opportunities for small businesses to add value and punch above their weight. 


This podcast discusses the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

'Companies in all regions and sectors are demonstrating that a commitment to human rights, decent workplace standards, environmentally responsibility, and the fight against corruption pays off. Some firms have saved money; others have minimised risks; sti