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Business and human rights

Human rights

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Human rights are the universal rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled. We are all responsible for protecting them.

Companies are increasingly faced with complex human rights risks. The need to identify, address and manage these risks are crucial in order to uphold social license to operate, maintain corporate reputation and achieve sustainable business growth.  

Businesses are increasingly expected to comply and disclose on their human rights performance, across all areas of the value chain including deep into the supply chain where visibility or control of actions and events may prove challenging. 

As national legislation on management and disclosure requirements continues to evolve, companies face significant challenges in managing their human rights performance across entities, operations, geographic borders, and cultural and linguistic differences.

Whilst management and reporting frameworks continue to develop, as yet there remains no commonly recognized approach or guidance framework for business to follow which provides sufficient detail and clarity to enable effective internationalizing of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

Our approach

DNV works with global multinationals and local organizations alike to support them in their human rights journey, as they seek to embed and operationalize the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.  

We can help you by:

  • Assessing your exposure to human rights risks in your operations and your supply chain, as well as the potential human rights impacts of your products and services
  • Integrating human rights into your policies
  • Assessing the maturity of your systems for effective human rights management
  • Developing monitoring and implementation mechanisms in alignment with international standards and guidance for best practice (e.g. Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, IFC Performance Standards, and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index)
  • Delivering bespoke training to your organization to build organizational understanding and capacity to effectively manage human rights performance
  • Facilitating engagement with related stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations, regulators or suppliers through tailored engagement programs or targeted outreach.

Recognizing the important role that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights play in articulating a pathway for business to effectively manage human rights performance, our services are structured in alignment with this and consist of the following elements:

  • Building organizational awareness and understanding on human rights
  • Establishing commitment (including policy development)
  • Assessing and understanding human rights risks (including assessing organizational capacity and readiness)
  • Integrating and acting on human rights risks
  • Tracking performance on human rights (including developing effective KPIs)
  • Communicating and reporting on human rights performance (including application of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework)
  • Developing effective remediation and grievance mechanisms

Recognizing that every company is at a different point in their human rights journey, our approach is designed to be flexible to the needs of the organization, enabling you to pick the elements you wish to focus on first, whilst staying mindful of the broader journey and expectations increasingly placed on businesses to comply with internal standards and legislative frameworks. 

Our pragmatic approach to the business and human rights agenda puts emphasis on supporting the needs of the business without compromising the needs of its stakeholders. We combine this with our leading technical and operational expertise, risk methodology and in-depth industry knowledge, to ensure that we deliver practical support and guidance on your human rights journey.

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