Integrate human rights into your business practices

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The Guiding Principles will help your business to be a good corporate citizen. There are two stages – adopting and following the Guiding Principles, and using the Guiding Principles reporting framework. 

Stage one

Six steps to putting the Guiding Principles into practice

The Guiding Principles outline the steps businesses should take to embed human rights into their daily work, and shows how to manage human rights risks. 

The process will vary for each company, but should include the following areas:

  1. Develop and use a human rights policy throughout your company's operations and supply chain. Use this guide to human rights policy (PDF)
  2. Assess the human rights impacts of your company's operations, directly or indirectly, on all people connected to your business activities. For example, workers, business partners, indigenous people, suppliers, contractors, trade unions, local communities and customers. Make sure these are included in your risk management system.
  3. Ensure your business complies with all local laws and adopt codes of practice relevant to the human rights impacts on your business and supply chain.
  4. Implement a credible and transparent monitoring and reporting system, to report on your human rights impacts and performance. Identify any gaps and set an action plan to resolve them. 
  5. Communicate externally about your company's impacts and the steps taken to reduce them.
  6. Establish accessible and appropriate systems to address grievances to ensure any negative impacts your company may have caused or contributed to are remedied. For example, a confidential hotline/internal alternative dispute resolution process.

Want to see how companies are using the Guiding Principles? Take a look at shiftproject.org

Step two

Using the Guiding Principles reporting framework 

The Guiding Principles reporting framework provides a structure for managing human rights risks. We'd like all New Zealand businesses to use the framework to monitor, influence and improve their business practices, and those of their suppliers and business partners.

The exercise of answering the questions in the reporting framework will help strengthen your internal management systems.

We recommend asking the following questions extracted/adapted from the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework.

The Guiding Principles Reporting Framework

  • What does the company say publicly about its commitment to respect human rights?
  • How does the company demonstrate the importance it attaches to the implementation of its human rights commitments?
  • What are the most important human rights associated with the business activities and business relationships?
  • Does the company have any specific policies that address its most important human rights issues?
  • What is the company's approach to engagement with stakeholders in relation to each most important human rights issue?
  • How will the company integrate its findings into the most important human rights issues into its decision-making processes and actions?
  • How will the company track and measure whether strategies are making an effective impact on the most important human rights issues?
  • How will the company enable effective remedy if people are harmed by its actions or decisions in relation to the most important human rights issues? And who will be enabled?

Take a look at the entire Reporting Framework