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Natural Resources

Energy, minerals, land and water sit at the heart of the transition to low-carbon economies, and at the start of every supply chain. However, the use of our planet's resources is all too often entwined with human rights abuse. Find out why we must ensure that the transition is both fast, and fair.

Extractive companies have had adverse impacts on a broad array of human rights, such as resettlement of communities without adequate consultation and compensation; environmental degradation and its effects on health, sources of livelihood and access to clean water; as well as charges of forced labor, rape and even extrajudicial killings by security forces protecting company assets, with some cases meeting the legal definition of corporate complicity.
John Ruggie, Former UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights

Natural resources are at the beginning of every supply chain. Their development is essential to the production of energy, consumer goods and food. This means that there are high stakes involved in their use, development and depletion. Natural resources can therefore be a great source of wealth for both governments and local communities, and bring benefits to all citizens. In practice, however, investments in oil, gas, coal, minerals, renewable energy, and large-scale agriculture are often entwined with human rights abuses. This is particularly the case in some of the world’s poorest – but most resource-rich – countries. Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, it is the responsibility of the companies developing these resources, as well as their buyers and investors, to safeguard the human rights of workers and communities affected by their activities.

In this “Big Issue” area, discover sector-specific analysis, initiatives, and news coverage.

Featured contents

Renewable Energy and Human Rights Benchmark

This first global human rights benchmark examines the human rights policies of 16 of largest wind and solar companies.

Transition Minerals Tracker

Tracking the human rights implications of the mineral boom powering the transition to a low-carbon economy

Pacific Business and Human Rights

Under-reported business and human rights issues, allegations of abuse and local voices

Documentation Checklist

Tool for NGOs and communities to identify and document abuses by companies