Assessing the extent to which businesses are implementing
the UN Guiding Principles, the survey was unveiled on the occasion of the first
UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights, taking place in Geneva this week
from 3-5 December, and shows that a broad spectrum of businesses – regardless
of industry, size, ownership and geography – are putting their responsibility into
ICC played an influential role in the development of the
Principles which were endorsed and issued in June 2011. Undertaking a major
role representing business on work underway for the implementation of the UN
Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ICC – in cooperation with the
Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, the International Organisation of
Employers and the Corporations and Human Rights Project at the University of
Denver – assisted the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights to extend
the ambit of the survey and secure participation from ICC’s extensive global
In total 117 business representatives completed the survey
which queried current approaches and practices relating to the business and
human rights agenda, as well as operational challenges.
Despite revealing an encouraging beginning, the survey
underscores the importance of continued efforts to instil business practices
pertaining to policy commitment, addressing impacts, communicating and
reporting. While approximately 80% of respondents were confident that their
company had some form of human rights practice in place, the response grading
dropped when asked how mature or embedded current practices were.
Since the principles first began to be elaborated in 2006,
ICC has consistently conveyed the need for a balanced approach to business
responsibility relating to human rights maintaining that state duty to protect
human rights is fundamental for businesses to assume responsibility in this
area. Encouragingly, while historical action relating to business and human
rights has been mostly undertaken by member countries of the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development, the survey indicates the beginnings of a
more widespread and diversified dialogue.
As well as assessing the extent to which companies are
taking action on human rights, the survey also identified a range of challenges
faced in relation to policy commitment, understanding and addressing impacts,
addressing complaints and grievances, and accessing remedies.
Survey results on the major challenges faced by corporations
as they seek to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles
will be the focus of a UN Annual Forum panel discussion on 5 December.
Featuring Viviane Schiavi, Senior Policy Manager of the ICC Commission on Corporate
Responsibility and Anti-corruption, the panel will address “operational
challenges” when engaging within the company or with business partners, and
“systemic challenges” where action from non-business, especially government and
multi-stakeholder initiatives, could help.
Ms Schiavi will emphasize ICC’s continued commitment to working
closely with the UN Working Group on the shared aim of implementing the UN “Protect,
Respect and Remedy Framework”.
Download the Report of pilot business survey on implementation of the corporate responsibility to respect Human Rights