Standards and resources


Internationally Recognized Human Rights

International Business and Human Rights Standards


UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
This publication contains the "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework," which were developed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (SRSG). The Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles in its resolution 17/4 of 16 June 2011.

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Principles for Responsible Contracts

This publication contains the “Principles for Responsible Contracts: Integrating the Management of Human Rights Risks into State-investor Contract Negotiations - Guidance for Negotiators.” The Principles for Responsible Contracts were submitted by the SRSG as an addendum to the Guiding Principles and should be read in conjunction with them.

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Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, & Intersex People

The Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people provide specific guidance on how companies can align their policies and practice in the workplace, marketplace and communities in which they do business, with international standards on the human rights of LGBTI people.


 

ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration)

The Tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy is the ILO instrument that provides direct guidance to enterprises on social policy and inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices. The aim of this Declaration is to encourage the positive contribution which multinational enterprises can make to economic and social progress and the realization of decent work for all; and to minimize and resolve the difficulties to which their various operations may give rise.


 

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide non-binding principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a global context consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognised standards.


 

The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact

Derived from core United Nations conventions and declarations, the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact are recognized and endorsed in numerous intergovernmental resolutions and outcome documents. They cover four areas: (1) human rights, (2) labour, (3) environment, and (4) anti-corruption.


Resources to aid the interpretation of the Guiding Principles

The resources below were developed by, or in coordination with, UN Human Rights to provide further clarity on the meaning of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Particular initiatives of the office on business and human rights (e.g., the Accountability and Remedy Project and the B-Tech Project) have resulted in more-detailed guidance on particular aspects of the UNGPs; please visit the webpages of the respective initiatives to find more information.

FAQ on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Frequently Asked Questions on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

This publication with frequently asked questions aims to explain the background and the contents of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and how they relate to the broader human rights system and other frameworks. It aims to help both practitioners and newcomers to navigate the Guiding Principles and improve their understanding of the Guiding Principles by placing these in context.

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A Guide for Business: How to Develop a Human Rights Policy (published jointly with the United Nations Global Compact)

The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: An Interpretive Guide
This interpretive guide is designed to support the process of the effective implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for implementing the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework. The guide focuses on the Guiding Principles that address the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. It was developed in full collaboration with the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

 

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Human Rights Translated 2.0 - A Business Reference Guide

Human Rights Translated 2.0 - A Business Reference Guide is an easy-to read handbook for business using real-life case studies, illustrating how human rights are relevant in a corporate context and how to manage human rights issues. The current edition was updated in 2017 to include the latest legal developments and recent case studies.

OHCHR and Global Compact Human Rights and Business Learning Tool

This interactive web-based tool is intended to assist managers and corporate responsibility professionals in companies participating in the UN Global Compact to understand what human rights are and how they are relevant to their business operations, in particular in relation to the two first Global Compact principles. The tool also focuses on related concepts of spheres of influence and complicity, and it provides relevant links, exercises and case studies designed to assist the participant understanding better the various concepts presented. In addition, a self-assessment test is offered to participants after completing each module, which will generate a certificate if the test is successfully completed.  (UNGC/OHCHR, 2010).


HR Policy Guide

Guide on How to Develop a Human Rights Policy 

This guide provides instruction on how businesses can develop and implement a human rights policy within their companies, aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. (OHCHR/UN Global Compact, 2011)


 

OHCHR response to request from BankTrack for advice regarding the application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the context of the banking sector

This note provides advice and clarification on the factors that would influence how a bank is involved with an adverse human rights impact (i.e., cause, contribution, and direct linkage); the responsibilities of banks with respect to remediation in situations where a bank has contributed to an adverse human rights impact; and the role of operational-level grievance mechanisms in this context.

 

OHCHR advice to the OECD on the application of the Guiding Principles to the financial sector

This note provides advice on what is meant by being “directly linked” and the extent to which minority shareholders and investment in sovereign bonds are covered by this provision.

 

OHCHR response to SOMO on the application of the UNGPs to minority shareholdings of institutional investors

This note provides guidance as to whether the UNGPs apply to institutional investors holding minority shareholdings, whether such shareholdings constitute a "business relationship," and the role of leverage in such circumstances.

 

Opinion issued by OHCHR in response to letters regarding the Porgera remediation framework

This note provides guidance on operational-level grievance mechanisms, the issue of waivers of legal claims, the nature of remedies, and stakeholder engagement.

 


Other relevant resources


Key Messages on human rights, climate change and business

Key Messages on human rights, climate change and business 

This document explores the main legal and policy implications of the UNGPs for States and businesses with regard to human rights and climate change and concludes with some of OHCHR’s key advocacy messages on this issue.

 

Business and human rights in times of COVID-19

This note provides a brief and non-exhaustive overview of some key considerations and recommendations for action based on the UNGPs’ three-pillar “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework in the context of COVID-19. At the end of the note are some useful resources developed by other actors to further guide action.

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The COVID-driven humanitarian crisis of seafarers: A call for action under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

In this joint statement, OHCHR, UN Global Compact, and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights address the situation of hundreds of thousands of seafarers stranded at sea due to Government-imposed measures to counter COVID-19, and discuss the respective roles of States and business in line with the UNGPs. The joint statement was echoed in an Office press briefing.

 

UN Human Rights “Issues Paper” on legislative proposals for mandatory human rights due diligence by companies

This paper seeks to unpack some of the main choices, complexities and policy trade-offs that policy-makers and legislators considering mandatory human rights due diligence legislation will be confronted with, and covers some of the advantages and disadvantages of different courses of action. A shorter document on key considerations provides a summary of some of these points, with a focus on the EU context.

 

OHCHR training modules on the Principles for Responsible Contracts: Integrating the management of human rights risks into State-investor contract negotiations - Guidance for negotiators

These training modules were developed for State and commercial representatives, civil society, lenders, and investors to learn about what it means to integrate the protection of, and respect for, human rights into State-investor contracts. This is a 90-minute self-study that covers the development of the guide, the ten key principles for responsible contracts, their key implications, the negotiators’ checklist, and practice examples.

An introduction to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

An introduction to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights 

This short document summarises the content of the UN Guiding Principles and describes the mandate of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

A Human Rights Management Framework Poster
This poster — launched in 2007 and updated in 2010 — captures key good business and human rights management practices that are elaborated in more detail in A Guide for Integrating Human Rights Into Business Management as well as in the International Business Leaders Forum publication, Human Rights: It Is Your Business.

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A Guide for Integrating Human Rights into Business Management, 2nd Edition 

The second edition of this Guide offers practical guidance to companies wanting to take a proactive approach to human rights within their business operations and is of use primarily to business leaders and managers in large and medium-sized enterprises, private and state-owned, who would like to develop their understanding of human rights in business practice. 

Guide for Integrating Human Rights into Business Management - A joint publication of BLIHR, Global Compact Office and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 

This publication - prepared by business for business - offers practical guidance on how to implement human rights within business practice. It is based on the accumulated experience of the ten companies in the BLIHR (ABB, Barclays, Gap, Hewlett-Packard, MTV Networks Europe, National Grid, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Statoil and The Body Shop International). This experience is supplemented with practical examples of human rights implementation from other companies including BP, Carrefour, Cemex, Codelco, Copel, Eskom, Li & Fung (Trading), MAS Holdings, Shell, Taj Hotels, Tata Enterprises, Telefonica and Valeo.  The final publication also benefited substantially from a wide range of thoughtful feedback provided on a consultation draft.

Embedding Human Rights in Business Practice I 

This joint publication of the Global Compact and the Office of the High Commissioner explores the practical meaning of the Global Compact’ s human rights principles for companies, presenting four case studies and a policy report on business practice. The main conclusion drawn from these cases is that proactive efforts to address human rights concerns better equipped businesses to manage risks and helps secure and maintain their license to operate.

Embedding Human Rights in Business Practice II

This second volume in the Embedding Human Rights in Business Practice series presents 20 case studies of business action related to human rights issues. The case studies highlight various types of actions related to company strategy, policy, processes & procedures, communications, measuring impact & auditing and reporting.