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New Human Rights Guide for Business

(New York, 6 June 2006) - Human rights remains one of the most challenging areas of corporate citizenship. Whatever one's stance in the business and human rights debate, one thing is clear: more human rights tools and guidance are urgently needed. This Guide, which offers practical guidance for business on how to internalize human rights principles in company operations and activities, is intended to help meet this need. The Guide also endeavours to show that advancing human rights is not just about managing risks and meeting standards, it can also be about realizing new business opportunities.

Prepared by business for business, the Guide is user-friendly and is laid out in a systematic manner, offering advice and real life examples on matters such as:

  • developing the business case for human rights
  • the content of human rights and available resource
  • understanding the Global Compact's human rights principles
  • developing a rights aware approach
  • integrating human rights in company strategy
  • developing human rights policies
  • developing human rights processes and procedures
  • human rights in business communications
  • human rights training
  • measuring impact
  • reporting on human rights.

It follows the structure offered by the Global Compact Performance Model, which is a suggested roadmap for how to achieve responsible corporate citizenship.

The publication is a joint effort of the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights, the United Nations Global Compact Office and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  It is based on the accumulated experience of the ten companies in the BLIHR (ABB, Barclays, Gap, Hewlett-Packard, MTV Networks Europe, National Grid, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Statoil and The Body Shop International) in implementing human rights within their own companies.  This experience is supplemented with practical examples of human rights implementation from other companies including BP, Carrefour, Cemex, Codelco, Copel, Eskom, Li & Fung (Trading), MAS Holdings, Shell, Taj Hotels, Tata Enterprises, Telefonica and Valeo.  The final publication also benefited substantially from a wide range of thoughtful feedback provided on a consultation draft.

The Guide was launched in London on 6 June 2006. An electronic copy of the Guide can be downloaded from the Global Compact website at http://www.unglobalcompact.org/Issues/human_rights/index.html  and the BLIHR website at http://www.blihr.org/GIHRBM.htm. Hard copies are available from the Global Compact Office, BLIHR and OHCHR.