UN Global Compact - human rights tools & guidance, local network activities

The United Nations Global Compact, according to its website, “is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles”. It is voluntary in nature and has 7,771 participating companies as of Sep 2013.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre indicates, at the top of each of the company sections on its website, whether or not the company is a participant in the Global Compact.

For further information on the Global Compact and human rights, please see our section on the Global Compact, with materials in all languages.

Human rights and the UN Global Compact’s 10 principles

The first two of the UN Global Compact’s principles directly refer to human rights:

- “Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and

- Principle 2: Businesses should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.”

The areas covered by the other principles of the Global Compact – labour, environment and anti-corruption – also frequently involve impacts on human rights.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are of particular relevance to the commitment undertaken by Global Compact participants.  As a global standard applicable to all business enterprises, the Guiding Principles provide further conceptual and operational clarity for the two human rights principles of the Global Compact.  They reinforce the Global Compact and provide an authoritative framework for participants in implementing this commitment, including guidance on putting in place robust policies and procedures and communicating annually with stakeholders about progress.  

Global Compact human rights guidance for companies

- “Human rights” section of UN Global Compact website

- Guidance materials on human rights collected by the UN Global Compact - including summary of tools to implememt UN Guiding Principles

- Women’s Empowerment Principles

- Children’s Rights and Business Principles

- Draft of Business Reference Guide on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

- “Understanding the corporate responsibility to respect human rights”, a publication of the Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum, produced jointly by the UN Global Compact and Maplecroft – available here in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian & Spanish

- “Respecting Human Rights – Organisational Capacity Assessment Instrument”, Global Compact Network Germany & TwentyFifty, 2012 – available here in English; language versions in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian & Spanish to come soon

- “Guide to Human Rights Impact Assessment and Management”, Intl. Business Leaders Forum and Intl. Finance Corporation (IFC), in association with UN Global Compact, updated Sep 2011 – available here in English & Spanish

- “Business and Human Rights Learning Tool”, short online module on how business can respect and support human rights. Provides a certificate upon completion.

- “Embedding Human Rights in Business Practice”, case studies highlighting efforts undertaken by companies to integrate human rights into their business practices: Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, Volume IV.

- Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum, an online multi-stakeholder platform for companies to propose, explore and discuss human rights dilemmas and good practices in emerging economies.

- Good Practice Notes, identifies approaches recognised by a number of companies and stakeholders as being good for both business and for human rights.

- Webinar Series: experts present and lead discussion on current issues in respecting and supporting human rights. Upcoming webinars and recordings of past webinars are available.

Local networks

UN Global Compact’s Local Networks are “clusters of participants who come together to advance the…Global Compact and its principles within a particular geographic context…Their role is to facilitate the progress of companies…engaged in the Global Compact with respect to implementation of the ten principles, while also creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement and collective action.  Furthermore, networks deepen the learning experience of all participants through their own activities and events and promote action in support of broader UN goals.” 

Information on Local Networks’ activities relating to human rights: click here
(previous activities available on UN Global Compact website here)
If you are aware of further activities by Local Networks relating to human rights that can be shared publicly here, please send them to Eniko Horvath at [email protected].

Leaders Summit

The UN Global Compact Leaders Summit brings together key stakeholders from business, government, civil society and the UN every 3 years to discuss corporate responsibility & deepen commitment to the Global Compact's 10 principles

See here for information on the 2013 Leaders Summit.

Get RSS feed of these results

Related stories and components

14 November 2014

Consultation aims to develop responsible business practices toolkit

Author: Property Magazine International

"UN Global Compact and RICS launch global consultation to improve responsible business practices within the built environment", 31 Oct 2014...

Read more

1 January 2013

[PDF] Embedding Human Rights in Business Practice IV

Author: UN Global Compact

Explores ten companies and how they deal with various human rights issues. Emphasizes the need for cohesive and sometimes over-arching corporate policies on human rights engagement. Fourth volume in the Embedding Human Rights in Business Practices...

Read more

12 December 2012

Understanding the corporate responsibility to respect human rights

Author: Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum (produced jointly by the United Nations Global Compact and Maplecroft, and is funded by the GE Foundation)

John Ruggie...Special Representative of the Secretary-General...issued the "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework" which the Human Rights Council endorsed in June 2011....

Read more

1 January 2012

Respecting Human Rights - Organisational Capacity Assessment Instrument

Author: Global Compact Network Germany & twentyfifty

This Organisational Capacity Assessment Instrument (OCAI) is intended to help you assess and improve your company’s management capacity to manage its human rights impacts...The OCAI consists of a self-assessment questionnaire with 22 questions centred...

Read more

1 January 2010

Guide to Human Rights Impact Assessment and Management

Author: Intl. Business Leaders Program, Intl. Finance Corporation, UN Global Compact

This tool is the result of collaboration between the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), in association with the United Nations Global Compact. It is designed to be a practical tool that enables...

Read more