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Making respect part of company culture


A policy is just words on paper without action to put it into practice. In order to implement its commitment, respect for human rights needs to become part of the company’s culture or “DNA” – in other words, it needs to be an integral part of how it operates. Embedding is about creating the right “macro-level” environment for a policy to be effective. It includes training, performance and accountability structures, “tone at the top” from senior management and the Board, and a sense of shared responsibility for meeting the company’s human rights commitments.

Learn more: see all our resource library listings below, as well as specific sections from these comprehensive resources:

What Do Company Directors Need to Know About Human Rights?

May 2016 | Caroline Rees

New guidance published by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission tells company boards what they need to know about human rights.

Business and Human Rights: A Five-Step Guide for Company Boards

May 2016 | Shift and UK Equality and Human Rights Commission

This short guidance provides “need to know” information for company leaders about how to meet the UN Guiding Principles’ expectations of doing business with respect for human rights.

Corporate Contradictions

September 2015 | Caroline Rees

How companies can avoid four stumbling blocks on the path to respect for human rights.

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.

Organizing the Human Rights Function Within a Company

May 2014 | Shift; UN Global Compact

This UN Global Compact good practice note examines different models for how companies assign responsibility for human rights within the company, and compares relative merits of each model.

Embedding Respect for Human Rights

June 2012 | Shift

This resource captures and distills company reflections on what it takes to embed respect for human rights into corporate culture, including senior management buy-in, balancing competing priorities and effective communication.

Embedding the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights Within Company Culture

June 2012 | Rick Relinger; Shift

This paper analyzes how corporate culture evolves and changes, and identifies stumbling blocks and lessons for success for companies seeking to make respect for human rights part of their corporate culture and they do business every day.

Human Rights and Corporate Law: Trends and Observations From a Cross-National Study Conducted by the Special Representative

May 2011 | John G. Ruggie; UN Human Rights Council

This report summarizes the findings based on extensive research and consultation with corporate law experts in multiple jurisdictions regarding the links between corporate and securities law and human rights.

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