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Business Learning

Shift’s Business Learning Program is carefully crafted to support companies that are serious about walking the talk to respect human rights.

Business Learning

Current Participants
  • AB InBev
  • BHP
  • Chanel
  • De Beers
  • Equinor
  • Ericsson
  • Ferrero
  • H&M
  • Hitachi
  • Inditex
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • L'Oréal
  • Nestlé
  • NEXT
  • PepsiCo
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Sime Darby
  • Total
  • Unilever
  • UPM



A unique opportunity for companies that are truly committed to human rights


Shift’s Business Learning Program is carefully crafted to support companies that are serious about walking the talk to respect human rights.

Rather than doing the work for them, we help businesses build the internal capacity they need to successfully fulfill their responsibility to respect human rights.

We do so because we believe that true commitment to human rights means being willing to do the heavy lifting to transform processes, structures and mindsets. It requires stepping out of the office, and engaging with those who are affected the most. And it means going beyond cosmetic changes, and off-the-shelf fixes, to put in place coherent, in-depth strategies, and sustainable, collaborative solutions.

That is why we’ve designed a unique approach that focuses on supporting companies as they work to identify their most pressing human rights issues, prioritize those where people may be most at risk, and put in place enduring solutions to prevent and mitigate harm, as well as to provide meaningful remedy where needed.


 Participants at our 2019 Business Learning Workshop, at Harvard


We are purposely selective about who we work with


We like to think of our Business Learning Program as a two-way street. On the one hand, we support companies as they build the capacity and systems that they need. On the other, each engagement that we have is an opportunity to expand our own knowledge and understanding of how the UNGPs are put into action.

That is why, as a mission-driven, nonprofit organization, we take pride in choosing to work with those companies that we can learn most from and with which we can have the greatest impact. So, we are not looking for companies with a ‘clean slate’. Some come to us as leaders in the field, seeking to do better in a specific area of their human rights work; others are a few steps behind, and some have only recently acknowledged that they need help.

Regardless of what stage they are at, we base our decision to admit companies into our Business Learning Program on four criteria

Learn more about our board-approved criteria


If they make the commitment, companies are in for a frank, nuts-and-bolts, roll-up-your-sleeves journey


Companies that become participants of the Business Learning Program, enjoy:

  • Tailored strategic advice, coaching and capacity-building support on agreed priorities for implementing the UN Guiding Principles.

  • Participation in a unique, cross-industry network, where companies can safely engage in discussions and shared learning on the challenges they face when implementing the corporate responsibility to respect.

  • Access to a series of peer-learning opportunities, including our two flagship business learning workshops every year: one in the Spring, co-hosted with the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, and one in the Fall, in London, UK.

Is your company up for the challenge?


If you believe your company meets all four criteria, and it is ready to take the next step to embed respect for human rights in how business gets done, we’d love to hear from you.

 Participants discuss effective stakeholder engagement at the 2018 Business Learning workshop


See all activities and content related to this program

Meaningful Engagement with Affected Stakeholders

October 2018

In this short piece from Senior Advisor David Kovick, he shares takeaways on meaningful stakeholder engagement by companies who are looking to respect human rights in their business practices, and some ways to put them into practice right away at your own company.

Supporting Financial Institutions to Implement the Guiding Principles

August 2016 | Partners: public and private financial institutions, including individual export credit agencies, development finance institutions and private banks

We're working directly with financial institutions and policymakers to build understanding of how the UN Guiding Principles can help financial institutions better manage risks to people arising from the projects and clients that they finance.

Human Rights Due Diligence in High Risk Circumstances

March 2015 | Shift

This resource focuses on how to do human rights due diligence in high risk circumstances – and how to identify those circumstances in the first place.

Remediation, Grievance Mechanisms and the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights

May 2014 | Shift

This resource reviews what companies are expected to do to provide remedy when human rights impacts have already occurred, whether in their own operations or in their value chains, in line with the Guiding Principles.

Using Leverage in Business Relationships to Reduce Human Rights Risks

November 2013 | Shift

This resource walks readers through how a company can systematically and strategically influence the behavior of others, including in its value chain, when seeking to prevent or address human rights risks.

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