How the business mind-set towards Human Rights has evolved

As Global Head of Human Rights at Mazars, Richard Karmel and his team have been working with companies to help them understand and report on their respect for human rights.

Just recently, Shift and Mazars co-facilitated the creation of the ‘Reporting Framework’, a tool which will help companies report on their human rights performance in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Framework can be downloaded by visiting the website www.UNGPreporting.org.

In March 2015, the Economist Intelligence Unit published the results of its survey of 853 companies on business and human rights. This survey was co-sponsored by Mazars. In his latest webinar, Richard Karmel explains his views on some of the findings and in particular why more companies are realising the positive impact that respecting human rights can have and how this mindset has evolved.

Watch the video now on Richard’s YouTube page by clicking on the image below.

Richard Karmel YouTube

Richard Karmel explains how business and human rights has evolved in the last decade

Below is a transcript of the webinar.

“83% of businesses do want to respect human rights, which wasn’t the case some 10, 15 years ago. I believe this mind-set has changed because any normal, straight forward thinking individual respects human rights.

“In the past, when you put a corporate wrapper around those people, all of sudden it didn’t apply. Now businesses realise that they are a moral person and that they should respect human rights.

“What we are seeing with the advent of technology, social media and the internet, is that companies are having to be more transparent. As a community, the world wants to understand what a company’s impact on society is.

“Companies are beginning to understand that their reputation is partly based on how they are seen to be respecting human rights. It is either for a risk mitigation purpose in trying to protect their reputation or the company is looking to enhance its reputation by doing well and showing respect for human rights.

“A lot of businesses are beginning to understand the power of human rights. This idea is vital for the extractive industry because they need a social license to operative in their jurisdictions. Whether that be the Democratic Republic of Congo, Papua New Guinea or Peru. When they are working in these indigenous communities they need to be able to engage with the local people because if they don’t they are going to find it difficult to achieve their goal of becoming a revenue producing unit.

“Business is beginning to understand that greater engagement will lead to greater profitability and that it generally makes good business sense.”