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BLIHR | Welcome

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Human rights are now present in the language of mainstream business in unprecedented ways. Over the past 10 years, civil society organisations, ethical investors, multi-stakeholder initiatives and far-sighted business leaders have increasingly highlighted the importance of human rights in the corporate context. The work of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Business and Human Rights has provided greater clarity concerning the role of companies in ensuring respect for human rights. But despite the progress made, there is still a great deal which remains to be done to make human rights a matter for all companies.

The Guide is written to assist managers in embedding and operationalising human rights within their companies. The Guide seeks to understand business needs and dilemmas in a realistic way. It is written by business for business and provides a step by step approach to human rights within business strategy, policy, processes and procedures.

The business case for such an approach has never been stronger.  Beyond the ethical imperative, it is increasingly clear that respecting human rights through appropriate policies and practices can drive long-term enterprise value – whether related to managing corporate and brand reputation; enhancing employee morale and productivity; or helping to build healthy and dynamic societies and markets.

This Guide, together with the initiatives, publications and projects it points to, comes at a particularly important time now that the corporate responsibility to respect human rights has been recognised by the United Nations Human Rights Council as a result of the work of the UN Special Representative. The work contained in this Guide is particularly important in helping companies implement and manage their responsibility to respect human rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the architects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said: "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works...Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere." Every business leader should therefore take the responsibility to understand how human rights standards are relevant to their company, and be aware of the challenges and opportunities which operating in a “rights aware” manner bring. 

It is hoped that this online Guide will inspire more business leaders to incorporate human rights into management systems and decision-making processes. Such integration not only makes sense from a business perspective but it is vital in ensuring that human rights are realised for all. 
 
The Guide for Integrating Human Rights into Business Management is developed by:

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