Blueprint for embedding Human Rights in key company functions

The purpose of the blueprint is to provide practical support to operational staff and managers in embedding human rights across an organisation.


The six elements to embed human rights

  • Cross functional leadership: Ensure effective management of human rights issues through cross-functional coordination teams.
  • Share responsibility: Share responsibility for outcomes, including the people in the company with responsibility for the activities or business relationships that may give rise to human rights risks.
  • Incentivise: Set appropriate performance goals for all staff and align incentives that reflects management commitment.
  • Provide operational guidance and training: Deliver training that connects to their daily work; seeks to instil behaviours; is visibly supported by management.
  • Foster two-way communication: communication between management and operational staff must be clear, frequent and in multiple settings.
  • Review, analyse and integrate: use indicators that measures progress towards the goals for the company’s medium- to long-term goals.

Five years after the endorsement of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the Guiding Principles) by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, companies are increasingly taking action to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights.

In order to deliver on their responsibility to respect human rights, companies must embed respect for human rights throughout their business, values and corporate culture.

The blueprint aims to clarify the concept of embedding human rights by breaking it down into six elements that can easily be applied to a business environment.

A definition of each of the six elements is provided, followed by an overview of the current company practice around it and examples of specific measures and initiatives implemented by companies.

The six elements of embedding human rights are then applied to the Human Resources, Procurement and Risk functions.

The Blueprint was developed with CSR Europe and other members of the European Hub on Business and Human Rights.

BITC and the international picture

The Global Development Award, supported by Business Fights Poverty, is just one of the many ways Business in the Community works, along with its members, for a fairer society and more sustainable future across the globe. Throughout August, we'll be highlighting some of our international work.  Find out more on the pages about our international work.

Sustainable Development Goals:

Relates to SDGs 5, 10 and 16 - Gender Equality; Reduced Inequality; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.