Publication: 5 Steps Towards Managing the Human Rights Impacts Of Your Business

Introduction

As entrepreneurs, business leaders, managers, or employees we want to be proud of our companies, positive about the work we do, and the impact we have on our communities and wider society. Whether it is by building a better car to get someone from A to B, producing healthy food that customers enjoy or providing finance to enable someone to start a business – we want to make a difference to the lives of others and we are at our best when our work allows us to live up to our personal values.

As responsible entrepreneurs, we want to maximise our business’ positive contributions, and avoid or minimise any negative impacts. To do so, we will often rely on our gut feeling to guide our decisions. What feels wrong, is often wrong. While this approach has its merit, as businesses of all sectors and sizes operate more internationally, it is not so easy to see or sense the impacts of all your decisions. Therefore businesses both large and small are being encouraged to set up human rights due diligence processes in order to know, and be able to show, how they go about understanding and addressing their impacts on people and society, and ensuring they respect basic human rights.

This guide sets out a simple and thorough process for any company, but particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to get started with identifying its potential human rights impacts on those people directly affected by its activities, and those whose lives it touches through its relationships with suppliers or other parties. It provides you with tools and approaches to understand what your business already does to address these impacts, and where it can improve. By doing this, the guide helps you to take your first steps towards human rights due diligence.