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Human rights makes good business

Rights Rights and Freedoms
Professor Robert McCorquodale

How do companies avoid serious reputational and financial damage? Strong human rights policies, says Professor Robert McCorquodale from the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

Speaking today at the Commission’s first Rights Talk for 2016, Professor McCorquodale – who began working in business and human rights law in the 1990’s – shared his extensive knowledge with a full house.

“Sadly, there are many examples of abuse of human rights (in business),” said Professor McCorquodale.

“It is not just what companies do with their own people. It’s also about what they do with others,” he said.

Professor McCorquodale said businesses must establish effective grievance mechanisms for those who may have had negative human rights impacts as part of the corporate social responsibility policy.

“They should be early and unconditional… and doing this is likely to prevent future negative human rights impacts.

“There’s a great need for regulations. Governments shouldn’t be helping business by doing nothing. Businesses need policies to guide them.

Professor McCorquodale recommended all companies not only develop a social responsibility policy with the goal to “do no harm”, but also implement regular monitoring and reporting and follow up actions to remedy negative human rights impacts and prevent future breaches from taking place.

“If (companies) do their due diligence, they actually become better employees and better engaged with the community,” he said.

Watch the full RightS Talk here