The study explores the views of businesses worldwide on their responsibility to respect human rights and the ways in which these obligations are carried out. It is based on a global online survey and in-depth interviews with experts and senior executives.
It draws on two main sources for its research and findings: a global online survey of 853 senior corporate executives carried out in November and December 2014 and 9 in-depth interviews with independent experts (including specialists from Harvard, Human Rights Watch, Institute of Human Rights…) and senior executives of major companies (including Coca-Cola, UBS, Anglo American…)
Human Rights are now a matter for businesses
- 83% agree that Human Rights are a matter for business
- Close to a third think that making human rights reporting a mandatory requirement for companies would help them respect human rights
- Ed Potter, Director of Workplace Rights, Coca Cola: “In 2014 we adopted a consolidated human rights policy. It took 8 months in 2005 to align with the bottlers. It took 15 minutes last year.”
But concrete actions are lagging
- 17% agree that Human Rights are not a matter for business
- 79% do not see a clear business case for committing on human rights (risk-benefit analysis, competitive advantage…)
- Jan Klawitter, Government Relations Manager, Anglo American: “We have to acknowledge that big corporations need time to change. It is not an excuse for doing nothing: it is just a reality.”
The journey continues
The intersection of business and human rights has seen significant activity in the last decade. Executives have largely accepted that companies have a role in this field. It’s time now to turn thoughts into action.
As John Ruggie, former UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, says, “now that we have a common foundation of minimum standards and processes, the UN Guiding Principles need to be developed in a more granular way.”
Visit our Collective Intelligence blog and learn more about the report and how Mazars contributed in transforming the UN Guiding principles into a comprehensive Reporting Framework.