Johannesburg, 21 September 2022 – Global Compact Network South Africa has today launched the Business & Human Rights Accelerator, a six-month learning programme to equip companies with the tools and knowledge they need to establish an ongoing human rights due diligence process and ensure they are meeting their responsibility to respect human rights. Such a robust corporate human rights due diligence process shifts companies from a “risks to business” to a “risks to people” approach.
The Business & Human Rights Accelerator will help companies understand when, where and how business impacts human rights and how to prioritize the most salient issues for action while identifying the most appropriate measures to mitigate risks, track the effectiveness of their efforts and communicate effectively to stakeholders about their progress. Such a robust corporate human rights due diligence process shifts companies from a “risks to business” to a “risks to people” approach.
“Business, whether directly or indirectly, impacts almost the entire spectrum of internationally recognized human rights. It impacts the human rights of employees and contract workers, workers in their supply chains, the communities around their operations and even the end users of their products and services. By completing the Business & Human Rights Accelerator, companies will not only learn how to reduce or prevent negative human rights impacts but also build a competitive advantage by ultimately becoming a powerful force for good,” said Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director & CEO of the UN Global Compact.
“South Africa experiences a range of human rights impacts, emanating both from the growing reach of business activities and resultant governance gaps; as well as persistent human rights deficits due to the legacy of discrimination. For long-term sustainability, business cannot ignore its responsibility to respect human rights and putting people at the center. At the UN Global Compact Network South Africa, we are excited to launch the Business and Human Rights Accelerator, which is developed to assist business to understand how to effectively undertake a human rights due diligence process. I encourage companies in South Africa to register and participate, so that you can move your business from commitment to action”, said Dr Achieng Ojwang, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network South Africa.
Assessments by benchmark and ranking initiatives highlight that most companies do not demonstrate practices that meet the requirements set by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This may indicate that risks to workers and communities are not being managed adequately despite growing awareness and commitments. Almost half (46.2%) of the biggest companies in the world evaluated by the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark in 2020 as part of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights failed to show any evidence of mitigating human rights issues in their supply chains.
Through taking part in the Business & Human Rights Accelerator, participants receive an assessment of their company’s actual and potential adverse human rights impacts. They also build an action plan so they can return to work with the goal of putting their learnings into practice to drive change. Lastly, they’ll build an invaluable network of peers, UN partners and experts that will inspire them to shape their human rights journey and advance a global movement.
Through Global Compact Network South Africa, companies participating in the Business & Human Rights Accelerator will gain access to best practices, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, capacity building sessions and on-demand training.
The Business & Human Rights Accelerator aims to engage 450 companies, including SMEs, across industries in more than 30 countries. Registration for the programme is open to participating companies of the UN Global Compact and runs from 21 September 2022 through 15 December 2022. In addition to Global Compact Network South Africa, the Human Rights & Business Accelerator will be implemented by Global Compact Local Networks in participating countries around the world.
Companies of all sizes are encouraged to apply for the accelerator programme at https://unglobalcompact.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8dikv4lBEdS2K9w?jfefe=new
Global Compact Network South Africa