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.
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.