Corporate Policies on Human Rights

Risks arising out of non-compliance by businesses of human rights law

A company that fails to comply with human rights laws and regulations faces a risk of lawsuits, significant financial damages, and the company’s or its officials’ potential administrative or criminal responsibility.

Adoption of a human rights policy is an effective tool to reduce these risks and gain certain practical benefits by:

  • developing within the company a uniform approach to preventing and remedying human rights violations that may be caused by its operation;

  • raising general awareness of its employees of business and human rights issues;

  • demonstrating the company’s commitment to human rights, including to its business partners, that may require that their counterparties have human rights policies in place and comply with the relevant best practices in their operation;1

  • creating an opportunity for the company to contribute to the promotion of the company’s adherence to human rights;

  • gaining reputational benefits; and

  • demonstrating the company’s inclination to follow the latest international trends in conducting socially responsible business.

Corporate Policies on Human Rights as a means to mitigate possible risks

For a human rights policy to have the effects described above, it should include an elaborate set of principles that is supported by operational guidelines, staff training, implementation of monitoring procedures, and remedial measures.

Involvement of specialised lawyers

The best results can be achieved where the company develops such a policy in cooperation with legal advisors specialising in the relevant field.

 

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1 E.g., ‘Respecting Human Rights. An update on ArcelorMittal’s Human Rights Programme’, July 2011