Human Rights and Modern Slavery

The globalisation of business has given rise to the debate about the role and responsibility of corporations with regard to human rights. While every international organisation would claim to uphold these rights, not all have policies and processes in place to identify, prevent and address their human rights impacts. 

Expectations on companies from civil society organisations, consumers and investors have increased. In addition, measures such as the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, have led to the introduction of legislation that places a duty on many organisations to implement human rights due diligence and/or to report on human rights issues. 

In the UK, the Modern Slavery Act requires British companies with a turnover in excess of £36m to produce an annual statement publishing the steps taken to eradicate slavery in the supply chain. In France, there is now a legal obligation on corporates above a certain size to publish and implement a human rights vigilance plan. These legal obligations have an extraterritorial application and cover both the company’s own activities and their relationships with suppliers.  

Companies should therefore have a clear understanding of the human rights impacts within their own operations and global supply chains and a time-bound plan to address them. External reports should include the progress made on implementing the mitigation measures 

GoodCorporation works with clients to develop the policies and management practices necessary to ensure that human rights risks are properly managed. The GoodCorporation Framework on the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights  helps companies manage their salient human rights risks and put appropriate systems and policies in place to mitigate abuses. This framework is supported by complementary frameworks on community rights and labour rights

A case history of GoodCorporation’s Human Rights assessment for Total is available here.

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