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B-Tech foundational paper | Designing and implementing effective company-based grievance mechanisms

Establishing company-based grievance mechanisms is an important way in which technology companies can play their part in delivering remedies to people and communities adversely affected by technology products and services. This follows the principle that companies should be accountable when their business activities lead to harms. In many cases, proactive and empathetic efforts by companies to recognise and directly respond to human rights-related grievances will be the quickest and most efficient route to an effective remedy.

This is also pragmatic because timely intervention can help to resolve grievances before they escalate into serious human rights issues that can present serious reputational, financial and legal risks. In addition, company-led efforts to enhance access to remedy, including through company-based grievance mechanisms, can provide technology companies with valuable insights into how they can work towards a new era of humane and socially responsible technology, with technology infrastructure, business models, policies and practices that are fully aligned with the best interests of people, societies, and humanity.

...HEADLINES

1. Taking a proactive role in remedying harms, including via company-based grievance mechanisms, is part of operating responsibly.

2. The scope of company-based grievance mechanisms and processes should reflect the broad range of human rights that a company may adversely impact.

3. The UNGPs provide a set of “effectiveness criteria” that companies should use to guide the design and implementation of grievance mechanisms.

4. In designing and implementing company-based grievance mechanisms, and in all forms of outreach related to these mechanisms, technology companies should be sure to adopt a “human-centred” approach.

5. Understanding how company-based grievance mechanisms fit into wider “remedy ecosystems” can highlight ways of enhancing their effectiveness and impact. This includes exploring collaborative approaches to remedy that can improve efficiencies and benefit rights-holders.

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