Last week, BSR hosted a one-day workshop in Paris on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for capital-intensive industries. We presented a summary of our research on extractives companies’ top five human rights issues in the short term:

  1. Security
  2. Land use, resettlement, and community impact
  3. Indigenous peoples’ rights
  4. Artisanal and small scale mining
  5. Labor rights

While the issues are not new, it shows that the complexity of addressing them remains as relevant today as it did 10 years ago when some first appeared on the international agenda. However, the expectations and the attention to the role of companies have dramatically changed since then.

Participating companies at the event recognized this and shared some of their ongoing activities to support the implementation of the Guiding Principles. There is a real sense of a need to collectively increase clarity on key components of the Guiding Principles. In particular, companies want to:

  • Work  together to develop a common definition of reasonable expectations
  • Hear more critical perspectives on the perceived shortcomings of the Guiding Principles and how companies are expected to comply with them
  • Increase dialogue on grievance mechanisms and ways to link the mechanisms to stakeholder engagement
  • Develop more clarity on working and staying engaged in conflict zones