BIICL – human rights not always assessed

According to new research from the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL), 49% of global businesses do not have a human rights due diligence process in place.

Of the major global businesses surveyed by BIICL, only 51% of companies had a dedicated human rights assessment in place including the full range of human rights obligations. In addition, 77% of this group identified actual or potential human rights impacts while 72% identified adverse impacts linked to the activities of their third party relationships.

In addition the BIICL research found that of the companies that had not implemented human rights due diligence only 19% identified potential or adverse impacts through other methods of impact assessment. 29% of these identified adverse impacts linked to the activities of their third party relationships.

Professor Robert McCorquodale, Director of BIICL, said of the research findings: “Human rights due diligence is assuming a hard legal dimension that transcends the traditional understanding of CSR and addresses actual impacts on the rights of others.

Although significant changes to national and EU laws have made the human rights performance of companies an increasingly important corporate issue, our report has found that half of companies don’t even have a dedicated human rights due diligence process, and as a result, they are failing to pick up adverse human rights impacts in their business, and with third parties, such as suppliers. This is despite the clear recommendations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which is the international standard in this area.”

As has been seen through social media reports of Apple’s manufacturers human rights records, poor human rights impact assessments can be a source of very poor publicity and could ultimate impact the income of the business as a whole.
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