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1 May 2020

Global Business Initiative on Human Rights & Clifford Chance LLP

GBI & Clifford Chance explore growing calls for mandatory human rights due diligence & the effect of COVID-19

“Navigating the changing business and human rights legal landscape - from GBI and Clifford Chance”, 1 May 2020

Over the past year, an increasing number of governments...have introduced, or begun to explore, mandatory reporting and due diligence requirements to prompt businesses to manage their human rights impacts. The pace at which such requirements are...introduced may slow temporarily...[due to] COVID-19. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also drawn stark attention to the vulnerability of many workers in global value chains, arguably strengthening the case for further mandatory measures...

Notably, business organisations and individual companies are increasingly voicing support for mandatory human rights reporting and due diligence requirements. This increased regulatory focus on businesses’ human rights responsibilities was envisaged by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) – the authoritative global framework for addressing business-related human rights risks. However, regulation will only help achieve meaningful outcomes if it is well-designed.

To achieve this, governments should consult widely when crafting new measures and then monitor implementation to understand what works, obtaining feedback from relevant stakeholders to identify any unintended consequences. Businesses have an important role to play to help shape and strengthen these developments to ensure they are both practicable and effective.

In this latest briefing, GBI and Clifford Chance provide a practical summary of the latest developments and share 5 things companies need to know to position themselves to navigate the changing legal landscape.