The first-ever ranking of companies on human rights raised eyebrows by giving Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton top marks alongside Marks and Spencer. While the methodology has been criticised, it is seen as filling a vital gap for investors

Six years have passed since the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, after years of research and consultations led by UN Special Representative and Harvard professor John Ruggie.

The principles were designed to ensure that companies “do not violate human rights in the course of their transactions and that they provide redress when infringements occur”. They outlined how companies could use the UN’s protect, respect and remedy framework in order to better manage their human rights challenges.

The principles are aligned with the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact (UNGC), which bears the signatures of more than 12,500 companies and organisations from around the world.

A November 2016 report commissioned by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission said: “There is no more pressing or more powerful way for business to accelerate social development than by driving respect for human rights across their value chains. The proposition that all companies not only can contribute at scale to development through these networks of business relationships, but that they have a responsibility to do so, is the quiet revolution that sits at the heart of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”  

Last month companies...

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Marks & Spencer  ruggie principles  Oxfam  UN Global Compact  SDGs  ITUC  Bangladesh Accord 

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