Companies around the world have embraced the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the Guiding Principles), which have catalyzed new efforts to ensure respect for human rights across business operations and beyond. However, in recent decades, there has been a global reversal of these human rights achievements, including governments pulling back from longstanding commitments and the closing of space for civil society to operate safely. This presents a new climate for business with new challenges in many parts of the world.
In this environment, it is increasingly important for business not only to maintain its commitments to respect human rights, but also to find new ways to support the work of governments for such efforts.
Over the past year and a half, BSR has engaged with several companies to explore such opportunities as part of our Business Action Platform for Human Rights. At the conclusion of this effort, we are pleased to share our latest report, Human Rights Policy Engagement: The Role of Companies. In it, we highlight why now, more than ever, it is important for businesses to use their influence to stand up for human rights policies, institutions, and frameworks around the world—their loss or reversal would have negative consequences not just for businesses, but for the communities and societies in which they operate.