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Business and Human Rights

Project Manager

Alice Pedretti

Respect for human rights is now a business imperative.

There are clear expectations towards companies to make a policy commitment, exercise due diligence and engage in remediation, as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights. Nevertheless, there is little clarity on how companies can improve their processes and practice in a way consistent with those expectations.

This project focuses on practical guidance on two topics:

  • How to embed human rights throughout departments, and;
  • How companies can effectively address internal and external human rights complaints

Engage in the project

1) Embed human rights in business operations – through the European Hub on Business & Human Rights to:

  • Understand the relevance of human rights across departments – human resources, procurement and risk assessment
  • Translate human rights into function-specific processes


2) Identify scope for improvement of companies’ grievance mechanisms for addressing human rights complaints:

  •   Measure level of maturity of individual companies through CSR Europe’s Management of Complaints Assessment (MOC-A) tool
  •   Learn from a set of best practices and tools

Project leaders

European Hub on Business & Human Rights

The European Hub on Business and Human Rights (“the Hub”) is a platform for companies across Europe to exchange knowledge, learn from peers and experts, share best practices on the topic of business and human rights, and incubate solutions on identified gaps. The focus is on embedding human rights across different departments, including human resources, procurement, and risk assessment. 

Engage in the Hub

  •  Engage with CSR, Human Resources, Procurement and Risk Assessment professionals within companies to promote cross-sectorial and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange
  • Provide access to expertise, learning opportunities, and best practice sharing to a wide network of practitioners, building a stronger connection between European and national levels
  •  Coordinate approaches and actions to address the gap in practical guidance for companies dealing with human rights, adapting them to national contexts and expectations

To this end, CSR Europe enhances collaboration with National Partner Organisations and their member companies across Europe to create a unique network of business professionals and experts.

To optimise the scope of the project, the Hub work will focus on three areas:

Area Activities Deliverables
Map company practice

2014 Webinar Series

28 April: Internal Organisation of Human Rights

16 June: Procurement & Human Rights

8 September: Human Resources & Human Rights

10 November: Risk Assessment & Human Rights

Publication on company practice on embedding human rights accross Europe

Peer- to -peer exchange

Local events on embedding human rights:

Kick off workshops: Finland, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey

Function-specific workshops: Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, UK

European function specific workshop: Brussels, 22 October 2014

Workshop summary report

Hub coordination Partner calls to share information

Business & Human Rights developments at local level


Management of Complaints

Companies are increasingly expected to take into account how their operations impact the human rights of both workers and communities.

With the publication on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in 2011, there is a stronger business case for addressing negative impact at an early stage through establishing a company-level mechanism of receiving and resolving complaints: an effective process ensures speedy resolution, prevents issues from escalating beyond company control, limits the negative publicity, can serve to inform policy-making within the company, etc.

In fact, a large percent of CSR Europe’s members report having in place a mechanism that deals with complaints coming from the workforce (87%) and a number of companies have started addressing complaints from communities (40%).[1]

However, little is known on what constitutes an efficient internal process and on how effectively companies address the complaints they receive.

To address the need to enhance the internal process of dealing with complaints and the need to illustrate the practical application of the 8 effectiveness criteria, CSR Europe has developed the Management of Complaints Assessment (MOC-A) tool.

Through this assessment participating companies receive:

  • A benchmark analysis evaluating company performance against the 8 effectiveness criteria and their corresponding process requirements, which allows identifying areas for improvement
  • Individual benchmark graphics that provide position against peers

[1] Information from CSR Europe and econsense internal Business and Human Rights Survey, 2012


Activities to date: