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Opinion

Interview: The Investor Case for Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence

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Business-related human rights abuses persists on a daily basis from workers producing our clothes and food exposed to severe exploitation, to indigenous communities dispossessed of their lands and livelihoods to make way for agribusiness, mining - or even renewable energy projects. Despite some leading companies taking action to improve conditions in their supply chains, voluntary action is largely proving to be ineffective. The 2019 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark found that almost half (49%) of companies assessed scored zero on all due diligence indicators. Advocates for human rights have long been turning to enforceable regulation to raise the bar - and they are now joined by a growing call from investors for mandatory measures on corporate respect for human rights.

On 25 November, a significant number of investors released a statement calling on governments to develop, implement, and enforce mandatory human rights due diligence requirements for all companies headquartered or operating within their own jurisdictions or, where appropriate, to further strengthen these regulatory regimes where they already exist. 

Eniko Horvath from BHRRC spoke to Sara Blackwell, Associate Director of the Investor Alliance for Human Rights, and Lauren Compere, Director of Shareowner Engagement at Boston Common Asset Management and one of the signatories to the statement, about why investors are supporting mandatory human rights due diligence regulation.

The full statement can be accessed on The Investor Alliance for Human Rights' website and all institutional investors are welcome to sign on by completing this form. The latest news and thought leadership on the momentum towards due diligence laws is available on BHRRC's Mandatory Due Diligence portal. 

This interview was made possible thanks to funding from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).