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Shift publishes new resources on putting human rights at the heart of corporate responses to the Black Lives Matter protests

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Report
21 July 2020

Black Lives Matter

Author: Shift

Following the recent protests in support of BLM, catalyzed by the terrible deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others, as well as the unequal impacts of COVID-19 on Black communities in the US, a growing number of companies are taking steps to respond to these calls...

Some companies have been rightly criticized for taking only superficial action; others are assessing their own performance on diversity and looking at further ways in which their operations may be connected to systemic racism. Yet much of the discussion is still framed as if these responses are voluntary commitments, which business can choose to make or not. That needs to change...

We recognize that many of the same harms apply to other communities and groups that have been subject to structural discrimination as a result of white privilege and power, in the US and beyond...

1. CONNECTIONS TO SHORT-TERM RISKS TO PROTESTORS’ SAFETY AND FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

MAKE IT CLEAR TO YOUR WORKFORCE: IT IS OK TO PROTEST ...

BE READY TO SUPPORT WORKERS WHO JOIN PROTESTS ...

SPEAK UP FOR PROTESTORS’ RIGHTS ...

2. CONNECTIONS BETWEEN A COMPANY’S OWN OPERATIONS AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION OVER THE LONGER-TERM

LOOK WITHIN: HOW ARE MY COMPANY’S PRODUCTS OR SERVICES CONNECTED TO DISCRIMINATION? ...

CONCRETE ACTIONS SPEAK MORE THAN VAGUE STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT ...

USE YOUR LEVERAGE TO MAKE LONG- TERM STRUCTURAL CHANGE HAPPEN ...

3. COMPANY INVOLVEMENT IN BROADER ADVOCACY POLICY GOALS

ENGAGE WITH AFFECTED STAKEHOLDERS ...

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Article
21 July 2020

Black Lives Matter: Putting Human Rights at the Heart of Corporate Responses

Author: Shift

ALL BUSINESSES HAVE a responsibility under the UN GUIDING PRINCIPLES ON BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS to take action to respect human rights in connection with their own operations and their extended value chain. This responsibility is a globally acknowledged and expected standard of conduct that is increasingly reflected in national laws, the expectations of investors, NGO and trade union advocacy, the standards set by influential industry bodies and the commitments of companies themselves. In the US, the Department of State actively promotes the UN Guiding Principles to US companies. 

We see three main ways in which companies need to grapple with these human rights harms – both the immediate risks to protestors as well as the underlying inequalities that the BLM movement is raising.

These are: 

  1. Connections to short-term risks to protestors’ safety and freedom of speech
  2. Connections between a company’s own operations and racial discrimination over the long-term
  3. Company involvement in broader advocacy on BLM policy goals

Read the full post here