All Human Rights

This series of podcasts focuses in on how business leaders begin to look at their potential or actual impact on all human rights in practice. For some time it was common practice for businesses to look only at the core labour standards and some human rights specific to their industry. The UN Guiding Principles make it clear that respecting ‘all human rights’ means referring at a minimum to the content of the International Bill of Human Rights and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. There is a business case to look at all human rights and ensure a thorough assessment of potential human rights risks. The ways in which companies go about looking at all human rights and assessing their impacts will vary from company to company.

“GE is a hugely diversified company and many of the businesses provoke different aspects of human rights – different salient issues.  For example, healthcare – the right to medical treatment and health would be implicated by its mere existence.  NBCU – the right to freedom of opinion and expression would be evoked in their operations.  Appliances – particularly as it relates to the supply chain in China, in India, in other jurisdictions would prompt questions around wages per hour, EHS, the ability to freely associate, and other typical labor rights issues.  Water and energy would naturally have the question of rights to access water as one of its concerns.  Our capital business, where we are often engaged in large infrastructure protects and utilise the Equator Principles, would prompt questions around the environment, indigenous peoples and the right to property and so forth.”
Mark Nordstrom, Senior Labor and Employment Counsel, General Electric Company

“The value of the Guiding Principles from our perspective is that they’ve provided a universally accepted framework as to what a company is supposed to do to show respect for all human rights.  Since the adoption of the Guiding Principles by the Human Rights Council, we’ve been moving forward to implement the Guiding Principles.  So far we have conducted a value chain analysis of our human rights impacts, we have mapped the risks and mitigation strategies with respect to those potential impacts, and we have updated our existing policies and practices.”
Ed Potter, Director of Global Workplace Rights, The Coca-Cola Company