Responsible Renewable Energy: Questions on Human Rights  

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights make clear that all companies have a responsibility to respect human rights. This includes avoiding negative impacts on people affected by their operations and business relationships, including throughout their supply chains, and addressing negative impacts when they do occur.

The growth of renewable energy is making significant positive contributions to achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals, such as access to affordable and clean energy, climate action, and ending poverty. At the same time, renewable energy companies also are responsible for ensuring that their operations do not negatively impact human rights. Human rights that can be, and have been, negatively affected by renewable energy projects include (among others): 

  • Right to land, access to clean water, and livelihoods for communities living in or near the planned project site 
  • Right of indigenous peoples to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or used and right to free, prior and informed consent before a project is approved 
  • Labour rights of workers involved with project development, as well as in the supply chains of components and mining of materials needed for renewable energy projects (examples of rights that could be affected include forced labour, freedom of association, fair pay, and worker health and safety)  

This survey aims to better understand the current approach of renewable energy companies to human rights issues, and to support the sector to integrate respect for human rights into their business operations in order to ensure the transition to renewable energy is fast, fair, and sustainable. Thank you for your time. 

Name of company: ________________________ 

Are you involved with any projects registered under UN Clean Development Mechanism? If so, which? ____________________ 

Are you involved with any projects supported by the Green Climate Fund? If so, which? ____________________ 

Human rights policy commitment 

Examples & guidance  

1. Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights? If so, please include the link or provide it as an attachment. 

Human rights due diligence

Examples & guidance

2. Does your company identify its salient human rights issues and does it have a due diligence process to manage them? If so, please list the issues you’ve identified and describe your due diligence process (key steps include: impact assessment, integrating & acting on findings, tracking responses & communicating how impacts are addressed). 

3. Does your company take any additional steps in your human rights due diligence process when operating in conflict/post-conflict affected-settings? 

4. What steps has your company taken to ensure that the each of the ILO Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work are upheld in the company’s operations?  

  • Freedom of association and the recognition of the right to collectively bargain 
  • Elimination of forced labour  
  • Elimination of child labour 
  • Elimination of discrimination 

5. What steps does your company take to ensure that the rights to land, access to water, and decent work are respected in communities affected by your projects? 

Supply chains 

Examples & guidance 

6. Does your company monitor its supply chains, and if so, has your company identified any human rights risks associated with your supply chains?    

7. How does your company monitor the compliance of subsidiaries, subcontractors, joint venture partners, and other business partners with your policies and standards? Please describe your approach. What steps has your company taken to ensure that these actors respect human rights in their operations (e.g. contractual clauses, reserving the right to audit and capacity building)? 

Community engagement and consultation 

Examples & guidance 

8. Does your company consult with communities affected by renewable energy projects to help shape the design of those projects and directly benefit? If so, please describe what form consultations take and when they are carried out in a project’s cycle, including the criteria your company uses to identify the communities that may be affected by your project. Can you share any positive examples of benefit sharing with communities affected by your projects? 

9. Does your company ensure its consultations include the perspectives and respect the rights of all affected community members (including those who may be marginalised for reasons of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, religion, or other considerations)? How is this ensured? 

Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) 

Examples & guidance 

10. Under what circumstances does your company commit to seeking an affected community’s free, prior & informed consent to a project?  Please provide examples of projects where free, prior & informed consent was sought (if applicable).   

11. What is your company’s process for obtaining and evaluating free, prior & informed consent? What steps does your company take to prevent corruption, manipulation and intimidation in obtaining FPIC? 

12. Has your company ever decided not to do a project based on community input and lack of consent? If so, please provide examples. 


Examples & guidance 

13. What steps does your company take to ensure that its own personnel, private security companies it contracts with, and/or government forces providing security to its projects, respect the rights of workers and community members including those who may oppose its projects? 

14. Has your company been in a situation where those providing security to its projects used force against anyone opposing the project? How did your company handle that situation? 


Examples & guidance 

15.  Per the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, does your company have an effective grievance mechanism in place at each project site for affected communities and workers to raise concerns about local impacts, including human rights abuses, in their own language, and in a way that ensures grievances can be reportedly safely, without intimidation?  If so, were affected communities involved in the design of the grievance mechanism, including its set-up, procedures and the types of remedies it provides?  

16.Have any grievances been reported? Can you describe them?  

Other information 

17. What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments and/or in relation to any of the areas mentioned above? 

18. Please provide any further information regarding your company’s policies and practices on human rights that you think is relevant. 


Further information and guidance: 

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises 

Mapping of Sustainable Development Goals to human rights instruments and issues  

OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas  

EU Regulation on Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains - Civil Society Guidance for Companies