UN human rights reporting

Our view of the world is enhanced by social media. Not least in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic emphasised the fragility of the supply chains, and the people we depend on globally. Good business sense includes respecting people's fundamental dignity and welfare.

This informative guidance is designed to increase knowledge, relevant to audit leaders, about the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Including how organisations are required to be accountable and transparent about their commitment to them. It will also cover both a report framework and an assurance framework for internal auditors.

As Richard Kooloos, Head of Sustainable Banking, ABN AMRO (and an early adopter of the UNGP Reporting Framework) observes: “The UNGP Reporting Framework equips us to understand what we may face – it reduces the number of unknown unknowns.”

We all know the reach that an internal audit report can have. It is read by the board and provokes discussion with the potential to influence organisational strategy, governance and values.

Understanding the UNGPs provides audit leaders with the knowledge to begin to advise and assure the organisation in playing its part as global citizens. The unintentional consequences of decision-making in a boardroom can lead to human-rights issues. Sometimes a discussion is all that is needed to raise awareness and promote change.

The principles

The UNGPs are a set of guidelines for countries and organisations to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations. They were endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011.

This short video provides an overview.

There are three pillars to the guidelines: state duty, corporate responsibility and remedy.

  • State duty: Pass and enforce laws to prevent human rights violations
  • Corporate responsibility: Refrain from violating human rights across all aspects of operations, regardless of geography or…