When a company has identified its salient human rights risks as part of its due diligence, it should then consider how it can prevent or reduce them.
It should also provide for remedy if it causes or contributes to any harm to people’s human rights.
Companies can use their influence to reduce risks to human rights occurring through their value chains and other business relationships. Boards should review how their companies mitigate these risks using different types of influence. Examples include:
companies may: use terms of tenders, contracts or joint venture agreements to set human rights standards, and audit their supply chains to ensure they are implemented; and promise better prices or future business to partners that meet human rights standards. When severe impacts persist despite efforts to mitigate them, companies should consider ending business relationships.
companies can improve the standards and business practices of their suppliers through training, integrating international or industry standards into negotiations, and delivering a consistent message to partners about their approach to human rights across all levels and parts of the company.
Influence through action with business peers:
companies can work with their peers to develop joint solutions to shared human rights challenges, for example, they can agree standard requirements for suppliers or a joint public stance on human rights standards in discussion with a government.
Influence through action via local and international organisations:
to reduce human rights risks companies may help build the human rights knowledge and skills of local industry associations, encourage better enforcement practices by local governments, and work with governments and international agencies to encourage law and practices that protect human rights.
Influence through multi-stakeholder initiatives:
companies can collaborate with business, governments, international and civil society organisations to develop, implement and monitor industry standards, or establish joint strategies for tackling systemic challenges.
Where a company identifies that it has caused or contributed to a negative impact on human rights, it has a responsibility to provide timely and effective remedy to the people who are affected. Boards should ensure that the company has fair and transparent processes in place to receive and address complaints that are accessible to those whose human rights may be affected by the company’s activities.
Last updated: 13 May 2016