Blog : BOARD TALK
|Posted on May 14, 2016 at 1:00 PM|
Word is starting to get out on the need to take all sorts of factors into account when running a business that delivers in the long-term. Human rights is one that has been steadily rising on the agenda, as covered just over a year ago in this blog.
In March this year, on Forbes: A World First: Ranking Of Human Rights Performance By LIsted Companies Begins .
Now the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a five-step guide to help UK board directors show leadership in ensuring their businesses fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights.
"Human rights make business sense. Companies that make human rights a cornerstone of their operations thrive - with their reputation enhanced" said Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
"This short guide will empower boards to ask the right questions of their executive teams, and to champion human rights from the top down" she adds.
The UK government has been leading the way in ranking human rights in a 'race to the top.'
In producing this guide, the EHRC drew on upon the experience of an expert advisory group made up of business leaders and experts in corporate governance. Mike Ashley, a member of that group and Chair of the Audit Committee at Barclays plc (no not THAT Mike Ashley) says: "If corporates are to thrive they must recognise their votal role in improving the human condition of which human rights are a fundamental component."
The guide has been written in partnership with Shift. It follows the publication of the government's updated National action Plan for implementing the UN Guidiing Principles on Business and Human Rights last week.
Professor John Ruggie, Chair of Shift and the author of those Principles, said that five years after the adoption of that global standard on human rights, "it is increasingly evident that the strongest, most sustainable companies demonstrate a tone from the top that clearly states 'human rights are a core matter for this company'."
This is not about 'compliance' - any more than hugging a tree (although it may be nice to do) is about looking seriously at the environment, and business interaction with it.