Corporations are coming under growing pressure from policymakers, investors and consumers to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and responsible business practices, meaning ones that are respectful not only of the environment but also of human rights. Compliance with laws and regulations are necessary in that regards, but it is not sufficient anymore to protect corporations from reputational risks.
Human rights due diligence is a corporate risk management framework formalized in 2011 by the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This framework has gained in prominence in recent years, including in Japan where the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry issued in 2022 Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights in Responsible Supply Chains, while in the European Union a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is under discussion.
What are international standards and best practices in terms of respect of human rights by corporations? How can corporations identify, prevent and mitigate human rights risks in their own operations as well as in their upstream and downstream supply chains ?