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Respect

Businesses everywhere have a responsibility to respect human rights throughout their activities and business relationships. That means avoiding infringing on the rights of people, and addressing negative impacts where the business caused or contributed to them.

Pillar II: Business Responsibility to Respect

The second pillar of the Guiding Principles provides a blueprint for businesses to prevent and address negative human rights impacts. This blueprint is made up of eight elements — click on the elements below to explore each one. 

As companies implement the eight elements, they should also keep in mind these overarching concepts:

  • The “blueprint” of the Guiding Principles is a risk management approach – but the focus is on risk to people, not just risk to the business;
  • The responsibility to respect human rights extends throughout a company’s own operations and all of its business relationships throughout its value chain;
  • Compliance with local law may not be sufficient to meet the expectations of the Guiding Principles;
  • Companies cannot offset negative impacts on people by “doing good,” such as through philanthropy or staff volunteering.


1. Commit

Making a public statement

2. Embed

Making respect part of company culture

3. Assess

Moving from reactive to proactive

4. Act

Walking the talk

5. Track

Knowing if it worked

6. Communicate

Explaining the company's efforts

7. Engage

Conducting meaningful dialogue

8. Remediate

Ensuring early warning and effective solutions

UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework

February 2015 | Shift, Mazars

The UNGP Reporting Framework and its 31 “smart” questions guide a company through the steps they should take to both manage human rights risks and report on them.

Key Terms on Business and Human Rights

February 2015 | Shift and Mazars; UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework

This glossary provides standard definitions for key terminology on the topic of business and human rights.

How Can Businesses Impact Human Rights?

February 2015 | Shift and Mazars; UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework

This concise table includes a summary list of internationally recognized human rights, provides a short explanation of each right, and offers examples of how business activities could impact the right.

Guidance for Companies on Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

January 2015 | Shift and Pacific Institute; UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate

This comprehensive guidance covers all aspects of implementing the Guiding Principles for companies, specifically focused on the rights to water and sanitation.

Global Perspectives on the Responsibility to Respect

October 2014 | Partners: Oxfam, Global Compact Network Netherlands

This collaboration looks at how companies in emerging economies are implementing the Guiding Principles.

Embedding Respect for Human Rights in Key Company Functions

September 2014 | Partners: CSR Europe

Shift provided expert support to CSR Europe to help its member companies understand how to effectively embed respect for human rights across their operations, and particularly in the key functions in human resources, procurement and risk.

The Rising Tide of Human Rights Reporting Requirements

July 2014 | Anna Triponel

The UK Financial Reporting Council's new guidance lays out expectations for companies on reporting on human rights.

Evidence of Corporate Disclosure Relevant to the Guiding Principles

June 2014 | Shift

This resource analyzes corporate reporting from 43 companies between 2013 and 2014 to examine how they report on human rights in line with expectations of the Guiding Principles.