Human rights now a matter for businesses, say executives—but concrete actions are lagging

A new report published by Mazars and The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that a large majority of executives (83%) believe that human rights are a matter for businesses, not just for governments.

The road from principle to practice: Today’s challenges for business in respecting human rights is also sponsored by: DLA Piper, Lilly, Global Business Initiative, Telenor Group and Universal Rights Group; and supported by: International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), IPIECA, International Organisation of Employers (IOE), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

The report also shows that companies do not see a business case—focused on immediate costs and benefits—for human rights, but rather see respecting human rights as helpful in building good relationships with local communities (48%), protecting the company and brand and reputation (43%); and serving moral/ethical considerations (41%).

Richard Karmel, Global Head of Business and Human Rights, Mazars UK says that “these findings show that greater corporate education is required. There are several business cases for respecting human rights; the two clearest of which are:

I.Protecting reputation and brands, and II.Engaging more widely with suppliers and communities which will lead to increased profitability”

Moreover, companies indicated that public benchmarking, having access to reliable information and making human rights due diligence a legal requirement would support them in fulfilling their corporate responsibility in respecting human rights.

Making reporting on human rights a mandatory requirement for companies was also highly noted as an enabler for better human rights performance. Karmel further added  that “Executives now have a comprehensive framework to assist them implement their human rights policy and to engage with stakeholders. Mazars’ lead participation in the creation of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework is our answer to both business and society”.

Download the full press release below.

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Les Droits de l’Homme et l’Entreprise

Des principes à la pratique : les enjeux actuels d’une entreprise en matière de respect des droits de l’homme sont la thématique traitée dans une enquête internationale réalisée par The Economist Intelligence Unit (étude en anglais) en partenariat avec Mazars et plusieurs organisations dont des entreprises multinationales, des instances gouvernementales, des ONG et des cabinets d’avocats.

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