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BSR Media Backgrounder: United Nations Vote This Week Marks a Milestone for Global Business and Human Rights

Submitted by: Business for Social Responsibility

Categories: Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Jun 14, 2011 – 01:11 PM EST


SAN FRANCISCO, Jun. 14 /CSRwire/ - This week marks a seminal moment for the global business community and the human rights movement. At its session this week in Geneva (June 16 and 17), the United Nations Human Rights Council is expected to pass a resolution accepting the Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, effectively creating a global standard for governments and business to address human rights abuses involving corporations.

The Guiding Principles are based on a framework proposed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie, which was welcomed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2008 and consists of three pillars:

  1. The state duty to protect against human rights abuses, including by business
  2. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights through proactive due diligence
  3. Greater access to remedy for victims of human rights abuses involving companies

The so-called "Protect, Respect, and Remedy" framework and Guiding Principles have been widely endorsed by business, governments, investors, and many civil society organizations. Companies across the globe such as GE and Citi are adjusting their CSR strategy accordingly and are embracing the human rights due diligence measures called for by the Guiding Principles. Major corporate responsibility standards including the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises and the GRI guidelines for sustainability reporting have already incorporated the principles.

BSR believes that this week's vote by the UN Human Rights Council will further legitimize the Guiding Principles as the global standard for business and human rights. As a result, companies increasingly will adopt stronger human rights management systems, and governments will incorporate the principles into national laws and regulations.

For more insight about the impact of this week's vote on companies around the world, and how they will need to adjust to these guidelines, please email Faris Natour, BSR's Director of Human Rights, at fnatour@bsr.org.

BSR's human rights practice advises the organization's more than 250 member companies on developing effective policies and processes to address human rights impacts in accordance with the Guiding Principles.

About BSR
A leader in corporate responsibility since 1992, BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to develop sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. With offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR uses its expertise in the environment, human rights, economic development, and governance and accountability to guide global companies toward creating a just and sustainable world. Visit www.bsr.org for more information.

For more information, please contact:

Melanie Janin Communications Director
Phone: +1 415 318 6443


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