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Human rights: a matter for businesses, say executives in a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit

HR EIU Cover

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

The road from principles to practice: Today’s challenges for business in respecting human rights is supported by IPIECA, together with others global business associations, multinational companies and government agencies.

The report also finds that 71% of business leaders say that their firm’s responsibility to respect human rights goes beyond simple obedience to local laws.

While this response suggests corporate attitudes are evolving quickly, only 22% say they have a publicly available human rights policy in some form, and 44% say that human rights are an issue on which CEOs take the lead.

The most common barriers to progress, according to the respondents, are lack of understanding of their company’s responsibilities (30%) and lack of training and education for employees (25%).

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%).

“IPIECA is proud to support The Economist Intelligence Units’ research on human rights. As evidenced in the report, corporate attitudes towards human rights have improved, but there remains much work ahead to ensure that companies worldwide have a complete understanding of the risks, challenges and opportunities involved in respecting human rights. IPIECA is committed to continuing our support for the industry in this area."

(Brian Sullivan, IPIECA Executive Director)

IPIECA’s ongoing business and human rights project brings together the collective experience and practical know-how of our members to enable them to gain a better understanding of their role in respecting human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles and other international guidance.

View the report