MONDAY 13 JUN 2011 4:27 PM


Human rights is an issue of increasing importance for corporations across the globe, according to a new survey, but it is hoped that a new UN-endorsed framework will remedy the fact that currently only a third of key businesses measure their human rights impact.

The survey, commissioned by the Institute for Human Rights and Businesses, shows that of 97 respondents to online questioning 97% believed that business must respect the human rights impacts of its operations.

However, only a third of respondents are currently measuring this impact, while two thirds reported that they plan to start reporting on it in the next five years. Protecting corporate reputation was seen as the most important reason for businesses to comply with human rights.

A new framework on business and human rights, “Protect, Respect, Remedy”, is due to be approved by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week. The standard aims to clarify the roles of government and business in protecting human rights, and to provide guidance for companies seeking to implement their human rights responsibilities.

John Morrison, executive director of IHRB, welcomes the new framework as complementing the growing momentum of the human rights agenda within business. He says that “the results of this survey highlight the fact that business, civil society and government require far more clarity around expectations, concepts and approaches for addressing human rights-relevant issues.”

The survey was conducted for IHRB by Echo Research. CEO Sandra Macleod called the new UN standards “both timely and clearly necessary.”