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Companies Commit to Human Rights in Increasing Numbers

Companies Commit to Human Rights in Increasing Numbers

Published 06-24-10

Submitted by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

As representatives of over 1000 companies gather this week in New York at the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit, Realizing Rights and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre have published a list of over 270 companies worldwide known to have adopted a human rights policy statement (see full list below).

During 2009-2010 Mary Robinson (President of Realizing Rights, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) wrote to the CEOs of 100 companies, encouraging them to adopt a human rights policy if they had not already done so. The firms contacted are headquartered in: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ghana, India, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania and Turkey. Many responded with an existing policy or intentions to develop one.

Every company human rights policy statement known to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is featured on its website:

Those with policies include firms as diverse as Anadolu Efes (beverages, Turkey), Cerrejón (coal, Colombia), Ericsson (telecommunications, Sweden), Mitsubishi (automotive & other, Japan), Pfizer (pharmaceuticals, USA).

Mary Robinson said, "Business increasingly recognises the importance of respecting human rights. Human rights provide an internationally-accepted, comprehensive framework for managing a company’s impacts on workers, communities, and broader society. I congratulate those firms with policies and encourage others to follow suit." Mary Robinson further elaborates on the importance of human rights policies in a statement issued this week, available here.

John Ruggie, UN Special Representative on business & human rights, recommends that companies adopt a human rights policy. Doing so is the first step in the "due diligence" process for respecting human rights that he has developed "“ followed by human rights impact assessments, implementation, and tracking/reporting performance.

The Resource Centre website links to guidance for business on developing a human rights policy, and to specially-written commentaries by experts who make the case for corporate human rights policies. They include:

    Wambui Kimathi, Kenyan National Commission for Human Rights: "The KNCHR would like to see more businesses, especially those publicly listed in the Nairobi Stock Exchange, state corporations and big market leaders in various sectors, acknowledge their corporate responsibility to respect human rights by having a policy on human rights."

    Faris Natour, Director Research & Innovation, Business for Social Responsibility: "The vast majority of companies around the world still have not taken the simple first step of adopting a human rights policy. The time is right for these companies to do this, and there are many free resources to get started."

If your company has a human rights policy statement, or adopts one in the future, please contact Business & Human Rights Resource Centre so that it can be added to the list:

Companies known to have adopted a human rights policy statement* (as of June 2010)

ABBEricssonNovo Nordisk
Abbott LaboratoriesEroskiNovozymes
Aberdeen Asset ManagementExxonMobilO2
ABN AmroFCCOccidental Petroleum
AGFFortisOz Minerals
Aker SolutionsFreeport-McMoRanPentland
Akzo NobelFriends ProvidentPepsico
AlcanFujifilm HoldingsPersimmon
Alliance BootsGeneral ElectricPfizer
AlstomGeneral MotorsPhilips
Anadolu EfesGlaxoSmithKlinePosco
Anglo AmericanGold FieldsPremier Oil
ANZ BankGoodyearPricewaterhouseCoopers
AramexGroup 4 SecuricorProcter & Gamble
Arla FoodsHandelsbankenReckitt Benchiser
ASN BankHenkelRepsol YPF
Associated British FoodsHessRexam
AvivaHitachiRio Tinto
Balfour BeattyHolcimRitzCarlton
Banco BradescoHPRoche
Banco do BrasilHSBCRoyal Bank of Scotland
BarclaysHydroRoyal Caribbean Cruises
Barrick GoldIberdrolaSABMiller
BASFIkeaSanofi Aventis
BayerImperial TobaccoSara Lee
BG GroupINGSecuritas
BHP BillitonIntelSeven & I Holdings
BMWInterContinental HotelsSharp
BoeingInternational PowerShell
Bonnier GroupISSSiemens
BouyguesJapan TobaccoSignet
BPJFE HoldingsSkanska
BramblesJohnson MattheySmiths Group
British AirwaysKBC GroupSociété Générale
British American TobaccoKfWSodexo
BT GroupKimberly-ClarkSompo Japan Insurance
Cable & WirelessKinrossSony
CadburyKPNSprint Nextel
Cadbury SchweppesLafargeStandard Chartered
CasinoLegoStarwood Hotels & Resorts
CemexLevi StraussStatoil
CentricaLihir GoldStora Enso
CerrejónLinde GroupSumitomo Electric Industries
ChevronLloyds TSBSumitomo Trust & Banking
ChiquitaLonminSun Microsystems
ChubuLundin PetroleumSyngenta
Cisco SystemsL'OrealTaisei
CitigroupMan GroupT&D Life
Coca-ColaMarks & SpencerTalisman
Colgate-PalmoliveMarubeniTaylor Wimpey
Commercial International BankMazda MotorTelecom Italia
Compass GroupMerckTeliaSonera
ContinentalMitchells & ButlersTimberland
Control RisksMitsubishiTokyo Electric Power
Co-operative BankMitsubishi Chemical HoldingsTom's of Maine
Cosmo OilMitsubishi ElectricTomkins
Crédit AgricoleMitsuiToshiba
Credit SuisseMizuho Financial GroupTotal
DaimlerChryslerMobilnilTropical Cable & Conductor
De BeersMorgan StanleyUnilever
DellMotorolaUnited Technologies
Deutsche BahnNational GridVale
Deutsche TelekomNaouri GroupVattenfall
DLHNeste OilVodafone
DnB NorNestléVolvo
Dow ChemicalNewmontWestpac
E.ONNippon ExpressWhitbread
EADSNippon YusenWolseley
EMINomura HoldingsXerox
EndesaNovo GroupYell

*Companies participating in the UN Global Compact (UNGC) commit to ten principles, including principles one and two on human rights. On this list we do not include all UNGC participants, only companies that have a separate commitment to human rights (for example within a company code of conduct or as a stand-alone human rights policy). Incorporating human rights into company policies is one of the recommendations in the UNGC document, "Help Mark the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

The list does not include policy statements that refer/apply only to a company’s suppliers or employees.

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Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

The Resource Centre is an independent non-profit that promotes greater awareness and informed debate about human rights issues relating to business. Our website is updated hourly with news and reports about companies’ social and environmental impacts worldwide, including alleged abuses, positive steps, and company responses to concerns raised about their conduct. The site has sections on over 4000 companies. It also includes special resources such as all materials issued by the UN Special Representative on business & human rights; a list of companies with human rights policies; profiles of lawsuits against companies. Mary Robinson is Chair of our International Advisory Network. Visit the website for further details and to sign up for free Weekly Updates. See website for contact details of our New York office and team members in Hong Kong, India, South Africa, UK, Ukraine, USA

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