Today marks a significant milestone for human rights: The UN Human Rights Council has endorsed the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights proposed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie. We want to congratulate Professor Ruggie and his team on this significant accomplishment.
While this vote represents the culmination of Ruggie’s excellent work, it is in many ways just the beginning, as companies and governments shift to application and implementation of the principles. Having already seen widespread support from governments, business, investors, trade unions, and many civil society organizations, the Council’s endorsement cements the principles’ status as the new global standard for corporate responsibility for human rights. Governments and business now begin to implement the principles, which outline how states can implement their duty to protect human rights, the steps companies should take to meet their responsibility to respect human rights, and how access to effective remedy should be provided to victims of human rights abuses. The UN Human Rights Council has also set up a working group to provide a space for continued dialogue and learning and to help drive implementation of the principles.
We have been working with many of our member companies on updating their human rights policies and processes to align with the Guiding Principles or to develop new management systems that ensure respect for human rights. Their leadership has been rewarded today with the Council’s endorsement. We will share more insights on the principles and the road ahead in the coming days.