The first step of human rights due diligence is assessing how the company’s operations and business relationships can pose risks to human rights. This means considering the negative human rights impacts that the company’s current or planned activities could have on individuals and communities. It also means considering negative impacts that could arise through any of a company’s business relationships in its value chain, such as suppliers, contractors, joint venture partners or business customers. The process should include both actual impacts that have happened as well as potential impacts – or what are often called “human rights risks.” Assessing impacts can be a challenging process. Identifying the company’s “salient” (or leading) human rights issues can provide a focus for the company’s efforts based on an evaluation of where the risks of harm to people may be most severe.
Learn more: see all our resource library listings below, as well as specific sections from these comprehensive resources:
BEYOND AUDIT: Many companies rely on audits to assess for human rights risks in their supply chains. Read about the limitations of this approach -- and alternative approaches being used by leading companies.
April 2016 | Shift, UN Global Compact
This webinar, hosted by the UN Global Compact, provides an overview and discussion of how human rights can and should be considered in mergers and acquisitions processes. It features speakers from Shift, Total and Ericsson.
February 2016 | Shift and Mazars; UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework
What are salient human rights issues and why do they matter? This short video introduces the concept and explains how companies should focus on salient issues for both action and reporting.
January 2016 | Anna Triponel, Shift
This resource provides guidance on how companies can identify and address human rights risks when structuring mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions.
September 2015 | Caroline Rees
How companies can avoid four stumbling blocks on the path to respect for human rights.
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.
January 2014 | Shift
This report reflects learning from a workshop with 12 Dutch companies together with expert stakeholders about how companies can identify and prioritize human rights risks and test their findings through stakeholder engagement.
August 2013 | Shift
This resource reviews the limitations of audits as human rights risk assessment and management tools, and offers examples and case studies of alternative and complementary approaches pioneered by companies in different sectors.
August 2012 | Shift
This resource examines how companies can implement the Guiding Principles throughout their supply chains, including identifying and prioritizing risks, using their leverage, understanding the role of auditing and supporting grievance mechanisms.