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Ensuring early warning and effective solutions


When people are negatively affected as a result of the company’s actions, things need to be set right. Companies will often have a range of existing pathways for people to raise complaints, such as through trade unions, internal hotlines or websites where customers can lodge complaints. However, these mechanisms may not capture all the kinds of human rights impacts a company can be involved with -- so companies need to think systemically about how affected people can raise complaints, and what processes the company has to provide remedy where it has caused or contributed to a negative impact.

Operational-level grievance mechanisms can be one important means of providing remedy. They can also be effective early warning systems for companies and can feed into broader human rights due diligence processes. 

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

Respecting Human Rights Through Global Supply Chains

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.

Piloting Principles for Effective Company-Stakeholders Grievance Mechanisms: A Report of Lessons Learned

May 2011 | Caroline Rees; Corporate Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School

This comprehensive study of what constitutes effective operational-level grievance mechanisms was produced as part of the Ruggie mandate and was published by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011. Its findings are reflected in the Guiding Principles.

Embedding Rights Compatible Grievance Processes for External Stakeholders Within Business Culture

August 2009 | John F. Sherman III; Corporate Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School

This resource summarizes key considerations for companies when creating an Integrated Conflict Management system to manage disputes with external stakeholders.

Mapping Grievance Mechanisms in the Business and Human Rights Arena

January 2008 | Caroline Rees, David Vermijs; Corporate Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School

This report analyzes the existing grievance mechanisms from companies, industry groups, multistakeholder initiatives, national human rights institutions, national labor dispute systems, development banks and international institutions.

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