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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

Raising Awareness on the Guiding Principles in Zambia

July 2013 | Partners: Caritas-Zambia

In collaboration with partners, Shift facilitated awareness raising workshops in Lusaka, Zambia for government, business and civil society.

Supporting the OECD on Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractive Sector

July 2013 | Partners: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Shift authored a discussion paper for the OECD on stakeholder engagement in the extractive industry, setting out options and recommendations for a proposed "user guide" to address this issue.

European Commission Sector Guides on Implementing the Guiding Principles

June 2013 | European Commission; Shift and Institute for Human Rights and Business

These three comprehensive guidance documents cover all aspects of implementing the Guiding Principles for companies in three sectors: information and communication technologies (ICT), oil and gas and employment and recruitment.

Consulting With Stakeholders in Myanmar

May 2013 | Anna Triponel

As Myanmar opens for business, how can companies ensure they hear from potentially affected people?

Dispute or Dialogue? Community Perspectives on Company-Led Grievance Mechanisms

May 2013 | Emma Wilson and Emma Blackmore; International Institute for Environment and Development

This book explores the use and impact of company-community grievance mechanisms in the oil and gas, forestry, and mining sectors through a series of practical case studies.

Conducting Meaningful Stakeholder Consultation in Myanmar

April 2013 | Shift

This resource, based on extensive on-the-ground stakeholder consultations, is designed to help companies in or planning to enter the Myanmar market to develop and implement a stakeholder engagement strategy, aligned to the Guiding Principles.

Collaborating With the IFC on Guidance for High Risk Contexts

March 2013 | Partners: International Finance Corporation

Shift provided expert input to the International Finance Corporation on potential good practice guidance for its private sector clients on human rights due diligence in high risk circumstances.

GSCP Reference Tool on Supply Chain Social Performance Management Systems

January 2013 | Global Social Compliance Programme, Consumer Goods Forum

This resource, developed with support from Shift, provides a framework based on current good practices for companies that are developing a social compliance management system, or improving an existing supply chain social compliance monitoring program.

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