Human Rights: The Foundation of Sustainable Business

Each year, the UN Global Compact publishes a Progress Report which provides an overview of how participating companies are adopting the Ten Principles and taking action to help deliver on the Global Goals. The 2018 Report confirms the extent to which human rights are an essential part of doing business — 92 per cent of survey respondents reported having policies and practices in place on human rights. However, it also reveals clear opportunities for businesses to deepen their efforts to respect and support human rights throughout their supply chains and operations. For example, in 2018, approximately 27 per cent of companies reported performing risk assessments directly linked to human rights, with only 17 per cent conducting impact assessment linked to human rights — both clear entry points for strengthening business engagement in this area.

In this respect, the work done by Global Compact Local Networks is of vital importance. By advancing the mission of the UN Global Compact at the national and regional level, more than 70 Local Networks around the world play a central role in driving the business and human rights agenda on the ground. In 2018, Local Networks have been advocating for business leaders to stand up for human rights, promoting uptake of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and convening human rights-focused CEO Roundtables around the world — from Argentina and Turkey, to Poland and the United States.

It is important to celebrate the progress that has been made, while, at the same time, recognising and addressing the critical human rights challenges that we continue to face today. This report highlights how the UN Global Compact is working with our business participants and other partners to advance human rights, including a compilation of company examples, key resources and relevant activities at the global and local levels. It is our hope that this snapshot inspires others to move from commitment to action, to challenge our ways of doing things and to take up the torch for human rights.