Document provides framework for all stakeholders to address corporate human rights responsibilities.
NEW YORK, NY/// March 25, 2011///Yesterday, the United Nations released the final report of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights (UNSRSG), Professor John Ruggie that will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council for formal endorsement in June. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a coalition of 300 faith-based and socially responsible institutional investors, welcomes the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” as a defining framework for the future work that needs to be done to improve the on-the-ground impact of corporations on the full range of human rights of individuals and communities. http://www.business-humanrights.org/media/documents/ruggie/ruggie-guiding-principles-21-mar-2011.pdf
The Guiding Principles elaborate and clarify for UN member states, companies, and other stakeholders how they can operationalize the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2008. This framework includes the State’s duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including companies; companies’ responsibility to respect human rights; and access to effective remedies for victims of corporate-related human rights abuses.
“The Guiding Principles provide an authoritative guide for companies of all sizes, in all sectors on how to prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts,” said Rev. David M. Schilling, ICCR’s director of human rights. “This global framework is a significant breakthrough and an indispensible resource for investors in assessing the human rights performance of companies and supporting greater accountability and transparency, not only in their own operations but in their supply chains.”
ICCR members and staff have participated in an extensive consultative process since 2005 when Professor Ruggie was appointed UNSRSG by Kofi Annan. Through face-to-face meetings, submissions of papers and investor letters, engagement through ICCR’s Special Event where Professor Ruggie was the keynote speaker and through participation in formal UN consultations, ICCR members have provided the important perspective of faith-based investors who, for years, have influenced corporate behavior by getting companies to adopt, implement and report on transparent and verifiable human rights policies and practices. ICCR has consistently raised the point with companies that people and communities most affected by human rights abuses must be engaged and involved in shaping the business and human rights agenda and have access to remedies for abuses caused directly or indirectly by business conduct.
In the Guiding Principles document, the UN has provided companies and their investors with a valuable and practical platform for addressing human rights abuses across all business sectors and in every corner of the world.
Currently celebrating its 40th year, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility remains the pioneer coalition of active shareowners who view the management of their investments as a catalyst to promote justice and sustainability in the world. Comprising nearly 300 organizations including faith communities, SRI asset management firms, universities, pension funds and unions with collective assets totaling over $100 billion, ICCR members help shape corporate policy on a host of environmental, social and economic justice concerns.