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Bringing A Human Rights Lens to Corporate Water Stewardship

This collaboration focused on developing guidance to help companies respect the human rights to water and sanitation.

September 2012

PARTNERS: Pacific Institute, UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate

In 2015 we published with our partners guidance for companies on respecting the human rights to water and sanitation. | See the announcement about the guidance

In 2010, the UN Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly formally recognized the human rights to water and sanitation (HRWS). With the subsequent endorsement of the Guiding Principles in 2011, companies that endorsed the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate saw an opportune moment for the development of practical guidance on how business can meet its responsibility to respect the HRWS. In particular, guidance was needed to help companies understand the implications of bringing a human rights lens to their evolving corporate water stewardship practices.

To meet this need, the CEO Water Mandate, together with project partners Shift and the Pacific Institute, and with input from Oxfam America, developed practical guidance for businesses on implementing their responsibility to respect the human rights to water and sanitation. The project benefitted from inputs from a multistakeholder Technical Expert Group.

Initial findings were published in 2012, and the full guidance was published in 2015 (see link above). The first exploratory phase of the project involved identifying international and national legal trends relating to the HRWS, illustrating some of the current challenges businesses face in respecting these rights, as well as the perspectives of potentially affected communities, and lastly identifying areas of potential synergy with companies’ existing water stewardship efforts. The second phase involved development of the guidance, with significant input from companies that endorse the CEO Water Mandate as well as expert stakeholders, on how to implement respect for the HRWS in practice.

See all our resources on specific human rights

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