Academy Influencer Session III: What Human Rights mean for Business

This session featured a conversation between Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Lise Kingo on what human rights mean for business. The session focused on three main topics: Why the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights matters to business; how business can respect and support human rights; and the emerging issue of human rights and the digital age.

Watch the full recording here:

What did we learn?

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has direct applicability to the world of business today and is the foundation of the Human Rights Principles of the UN Global Compact
  • When companies meet their responsibility to respect human rights and take action to support human rights, they contribute to the realization of the Global Goals and help create more peaceful and inclusive societies.
  • While a critical mass of companies now understand that human rights is crucial for responsible business, we still see a gap between commitment and action.
  • Beyond being the right thing to do, business respect and support for human rights can:
    • Help strengthen a company’s social license to operate
    • Lead to greater access to business opportunities, investments and innovation
    • Enable business to meet evolving customer expectations in a changing market.
  • The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights is the key normative framework for engagement and provide conceptual and operational clarity on the policies and processes companies should develop and implement in order to ensure that they meet their responsibility to respect human rights.
  • Technology and digital developments offer amazing possibilities for human rights work when applied responsibly. It is critical to build on these developments to advance protection and respect of human rights.

Want to learn more? Here are some recommended resources:

  1. UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  2. Human Rights Translated
  3. Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs
  4. Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, & Intersex People: Standards of Conduct for Business

New Academy sessions, including practical deep dives into human rights topics, will be announced in July.

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