If you need to understand what it means to do business with respect for human rights, look no further than this guide.

‘Doing Business With Respect for Human Rights’ is a comprehensive guide designed for companies of all sizes, sectors and geographies. It is intended to equip readers with practical advice and real-life examples that help to translate the high-level expectations in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into concrete action.

The guide is the joint product of the partners in the Global Perspectives Project, an innovative collaboration between the Global Compact Network Netherlands, Oxfam and Shift, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“This guidance for companies is a tangible tool that will be beneficial for years to come. As a rights-based anti-poverty organisation that works on the intersection of business and development, we always look for practical and tested guidance that can promote solutions and lessons for companies. Not only is this useful for the corporate sector but also for those of us in civil society to better understand the risks and opportunities that companies face when implementing a rights agenda.”

—Maarten De Vuyst, Private Sector Lead, Oxfam

From 2014 to 2016, the project partners worked with local Oxfam affiliates and Global Compact local networks to deliver workshops in Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey. The workshops brought companies and civil society stakeholders together for frank sharing of perspectives, challenges and ways forward on ensuring greater business respect for human rights.

The resulting guide includes the perspectives of both companies as well as civil society organisations, and draws on learning from those country workshops. It features step-by-step guidance points, pitfalls to avoid and suggestions for small- and medium-sized enterprises. It also includes leading examples of company policies and practices, addresses current discussion topics like the Sustainable Development Goals, and answers tough questions like “Why should companies care about respecting human rights?”. The guide is intended for companies, but should also be useful for their stakeholders, such as civil society organisations and investors.

“The project behind this guidance facilitated outreach, interaction and learning on key human rights issues and management approaches amongst companies, local stakeholders and Global Compact Networks in Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey. Any company that is looking for ways to integrate consideration for human rights into its business operations will hopefully find that this guidance and its companion website provide a practical starting point, showcase best practices and help companies refine already existing human rights approaches where they have them.”

—André R. van Heemstra, Chairman, Global Compact Network Netherlands

This website also features multimedia case stories from the four focus countries. These stories share various perspectives about building good relationships with communities around a paper and pulp mill in Indonesia; how a legacy of mistrust with the community damaged the development of a wind farm in Mexico; about making respect for human rights part of a bank’s everyday business in post-apartheid South Africa; and about working to ensure workers’ rights are respected in clothing manufacturing in Turkey.

“We have a long road ahead in ensuring real respect for human rights by all businesses globally, and governments have an essential role to play in speeding up the process. However, we are seeing real progress by some companies; encouraging similar progress by others hinges on access to a robust and field-proven understanding of what it means to do business with respect for human rights, day in and day out, and all across the business. As a mission-driven organisation committed to putting the Guiding Principles into practice, we want others to benefit from the experiences of companies and their stakeholders that inform this website and its guidance. Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel on getting this right.”

—Rachel Davis, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Shift

We hope you find value in the guide and case stories, and share them widely with colleagues you think could also benefit from knowing more about doing business with respect for human rights.

André R. van Heemstra
Chairman, Global Compact Network Netherlands

Maarten De Vuyst
Private Sector Lead, Oxfam

Rachel Davis
Managing Director and Co-Founder, Shift

This website is a collaboration of Global Compact Network Netherlands, Oxfam and Shift. The primary authors of the material on this website are David Vermijs, Rachel Davis and Julie Schindall of Shift, Eppy Boschma of the Global Compact Network Netherlands, and Sarah Zoen and Gine Zwart of Oxfam.

The project team would like to thank all of the individuals who participated in this collaborative initiative and whose experiences and ideas are reflected on this website. In particular, they would like to thank: Satrio Anindito of the Indonesia Global Compact Network and Dini Widiastuti of Oxfam in Indonesia; Marco Pérez of the Global Compact Network Mexico and Roberto Stefani of Oxfam Mexico; Benjamin Cokelet and Fernanda Hopenhaym of PODER in Mexico; Ayabonga Cawe of Oxfam South Africa and Achieng Ojwang of the Global Compact Network South Africa; Meryem Aslan and Aysegul Ekmekci of Oxfam in Turkey and Derin Şenerdem of the Global Compact Network Turkey; and Willemijn Brouwer, former intern with the Global Compact Network Netherlands for this project.


About the project partners

About Global Compact Network Netherlands

The Network is the local association promoting the UN Guiding Principles. It is a multistakeholder initiative involving a network of companies and NGOs. It aims to further the UN Global Compact's 10 principles and serves members through organizing learning activities, mutual support with the Communication on Progress (COP) and joint projects, including on the topics of Business and Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals. This project builds on a 2008–10 project by the Global Compact Network Netherlands, together with several Dutch multinational companies, which produced the widely used guide ‘How to Do Business with Respect for Human Rights’. A number of those companies also participated in the development of this document: ABN AMRO, AkzoNobel, KPMG, Philips, Rabobank, Randstad, Shell and Unilever. | www.gcnetherlands.nl/

About Oxfam

Oxfam is an international confederation of 18 organizations working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries. Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. We save lives and help rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes. And we campaign so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them. | www.oxfam.org

About Shift

Shift is the leading centre of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Founded in 2011, the Shift team facilitates dialogue, builds capacity and develops new approaches with companies, government, civil society organisations and international institutions to enable them to implement the Guiding Principles. Shift is a non-profit, independent organisation with team members in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. | www.shiftproject.org

For further questions about the project behind this website, or to inquire about the material on this website, please click the contact button below. Thank you for your interest.