Five years after the unanimous endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the UN Human Rights Council, companies and their stakeholders have a clear global standard on the expectation that business will respect human rights.
Since that time, companies around the world have been pressing ahead, implementing the Guiding Principles in their policies and practices. The most common thing we hear from companies is that this is an ongoing process that brings real challenges, as well as constant opportunities for learning and improvement.
Successfully undertaking this process requires field-tested and tangible guidance. With this website – the product of a unique, multi-year collaboration between companies, civil society and issue experts – we hope to offer companies ‘must-read’ foundational guidance on how to implement respect for human rights in line with the Guiding Principles.
In addition to the guidance, the case stories featured on this website are designed to invite readers to learn about real practice in four emerging economies, with links into the guidance so readers can learn more about the principles behind the practice.
“This guidance for companies is a tangible tool that will be beneficial for years to come. As a rights-based anti-poverty organisation that works on the intersection of business and development, we always look for practical and tested guidance that can promote solutions and lessons for companies. Not only is this useful for the corporate sector but also for those of us in civil society to better understand the risks and opportunities that companies face when implementing a rights agenda.”
—Maarten De Vuyst, Private Sector Lead, Oxfam
This guidance on this website is more than a theoretical explanation of what the Guiding Principles say; it is based on real experiences of companies, and their stakeholders, in diverse and complex situations. Those situations range from pulp milling in Indonesia to alternative energy projects in Mexico, and from banking in South Africa to clothing manufacturing in Turkey. From 2014–16, in close collaboration with Oxfam affiliates and Global Compact local networks in each of these four countries, we explored what respecting human rights means on the ground in highly different contexts. Case stories from those countries are featured on this website.
This guidance builds on a 2008–10 project by the Global Compact (GC) Network Netherlands, together with several Dutch multinational companies, which produced the widely used guide ‘How to Do Business with Respect for Human Rights’. Most of those companies also participated in the development of this guidance.
“The project behind this guidance facilitated outreach, interaction and learning on key human rights issues and management approaches amongst companies, local stakeholders and Global Compact Networks in Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey. Any company that is looking for ways to integrate consideration for human rights into its business operations will hopefully find that this guidance and its companion website provide a practical starting point, showcase best practices and help companies refine already existing human rights approaches where they have them.”
—André R. van Heemstra, Chairman, Global Compact Network Netherlands
The development of this guidance was supported by the Dutch government as part of its National Action Plan on implementing the Guiding Principles.
“We have a long road ahead in ensuring real respect for human rights by all businesses globally, and governments have an essential role to play in speeding up the process. However, we are seeing real progress by some companies; encouraging similar progress by others hinges on access to a robust and field-proven understanding of what it means to do business with respect for human rights, day in and day out, and all across the business. As a mission-driven organisation committed to putting the Guiding Principles into practice, we want others to benefit from the experiences of companies and their stakeholders that inform this website and its guidance. Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel on getting this right.”
—Rachel Davis, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Shift
We hope you find as much value in this website as we have found in the collaborative process of developing it.
André R. van Heemstra
Chairman, Global Compact Network Netherlands
Maarten De Vuyst
Private Sector Lead, Oxfam
Managing Director and Co-Founder, Shift
This website is a collaboration of Global Compact Network Netherlands, Oxfam and Shift. The primary authors of the material on this website are David Vermijs, Rachel Davis and Julie Schindall of Shift, Eppy Boschma of the Global Compact Network Netherlands, and Sarah Zoen and Gine Zwart of Oxfam.
The project team would like to thank all of the individuals who participated in this collaborative initiative and whose experiences and ideas are reflected on this website. In particular, they would like to thank: Satrio Anindito of the Indonesia Global Compact Network and Dini Widiastuti of Oxfam in Indonesia; Marco Pérez of the Global Compact Network Mexico and Roberto Stefani of Oxfam Mexico; Benjamin Cokelet and Fernanda Hopenhaym of PODER in Mexico; Ayabonga Cawe of Oxfam South Africa and Achieng Ojwang of the Global Compact Network South Africa; Meryem Aslan and Aysegul Ekmekci of Oxfam in Turkey and Derin Senerdem of the Global Compact Network Turkey; and Willemijn Brouwer, former intern with the Global Compact Network Netherlands for this project.
For further questions about the project behind this website, or to inquire about the material on this website, please click the contact button below. Thank you for your interest.