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The Global Business Initiative on Human Rights


Established in 2009 for an initial four year period, the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI) is a project supporting the exchange of ideas, challenges and good practices in relation to business respect for human rights. In the spirit of — and in collaboration with — the United Nations Global Compact, GBI is a business-led initiative with a focus on bringing together business leaders from multiple geographic regions and sectors.

Framework for Action

The first two principles of the Global Compact are often the most challenging for signatories to put into practice. Additionally, business leaders often lack a business-friendly forum for exchange in relation to human rights dilemmas and opportunities. Therefore, GBI convenes business-to-business roundtables, supports human rights efforts of the Global Compact Local Networks and promotes tools in relation to the Global Compact human rights principles. GBI also collaborates with and promotes the work of the Global Compact Human Rights Working Group.

GBI also builds knowledge and understanding of key developments in the business and human rights agenda. A backbone to the work of GBI is Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, developed by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Business and Human Rights. The  Guiding Principles provide practical steps businesses should take on this complex issue, including establishing policy commitments, due diligence and remediation processes.

Activities and Deliverables

  • Roundtables: GBI seeks to work with Global Compact Local Networks and other key actors to convene business-to-business roundtables in multiple places around the world. GBI events are being planned in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia.
  • Business and Human Rights Dialogues: GBI, in partnership with the Global Compact and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, is producing audio interviews in multiple languages in which business leaders explain the realities of integrating human rights into business.
  • Promoting tools and filling guidance gaps: GBI promotes existing business and human rights tools available to companies, seeks to work with local partners in translating/adapting tools and will contribute to the debate by filling identified guidance gaps.

How to Participate

GBI is led by a core group of companies from diverse geographies and sectors. Current core members include ABB, Cerrejon, Flextronics, General Electric Company, Hewlett-Packard, Mansour, Novo Nordisk A/S, Royal Dutch Shell plc, the Coca-Cola Company and Total S.A. GBI will announce further members over time with the vision of building a core group of companies representing all regions of the world.

Please contact the emails below to discuss membership in the core group.

Additionally, if you are interested in participating in a GBI roundtable or collaborating with GBI on human rights activities in your country/region, please contact the emails below.

Links and Resources

Official Website

Tools and Guidance Materials

Roundtable Reports


UN Global Compact
Ursula Wynhoven
Head Policy and Legal                              
Global Business Initiative on Human Rights
Jo Clark
Research and Communications


(last updated 30 August 2010)