Peer Learning Project: Translating standards into corporate practice

Since their unanimous endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) have provided the global authoritative standard for understanding the duties of States and responsibilities of business with respect to business-related human rights abuse. A number of companies have taken significant steps to embed the UNGPs in their policies and practices, and the UNGPs have been integrated into the work of industry associations and business networks. However, globally, many companies have not yet taken sufficient action to translate the UNGPs into practice. Even companies that are aware of their responsibility to respect human rights have faced difficulties in effectively translating policy commitment into action.

UN Human Rights’ Peer Learning Project was created to support business communities in different countries improve alignment of corporate practices with the UNGPs. The project is conducted through workshops that bring companies together for a dialogue among business peers operating in the same context. These workshops offer a “safe space” where participants can exchange lessons learnt, common concerns and challenges in the implementation of the UNGPs. The peer learning format aims to ensure that the learning process is practical and responsive to context-specific challenges.

Each workshop is tailored to a specific operating context and can be generic (involving companies from various business sectors), sector specific (e.g. the extractive or other sector) or issue specific.  The Peer Learning Project has hosted (or will host) the following workshops:

  • 2021: Virtual workshop with thematic focus on human rights due diligence in challenging contexts (forthcoming)
  • 2021: Virtual workshop with thematic focus on technology, business and human rights (forthcoming)
  • 2019: Russian Federation (country focus)
  • 2019: South Africa (sub-regional focus: South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe; sector focus: extractive companies; and thematic focus: security issues)
  • 2019: Cambodia (country focus)
  • 2019: Thailand (sub-regional focus: Thailand and Indonesia)
  • 2019: Kenya (country focus)
  • 2018: Colombia (country focus)

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, workshops planned for 2020 were postponed.

To learn more about the Peer Learning Project or how to be included in workshops, please reach out to Adrienne Gardaz Cuendet at agardaz@ohchr.org