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UN Special Representative Ruggie address to business focuses on corporate responsibility to respect human rights, due dilligence

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2 March 2010

U.N. Special Rep: Time to 'Know and Show'

Author: Juliette Terzieff, World Politics Review blog

The time has come for the private sector and its activist stakeholders to move from "name and shame" to "know and show," says United Nations Special Representative on Business and Human Rights John Ruggie... For corporations, the key operational element, according to Ruggie, is to conduct due diligence. This means making a policy-level commitment to human rights, periodic assessments on the actual and potential impact of business operations on human rights, and integrating the process into decision-making and the tracking of performance. "...A claim to respect human rights is just that, a claim, not a fact," Ruggie said. "Human rights is social sustainability, and companies have to demonstrate that." ...[F]orward-thinking corporations like Coca-Cola and Hewlett Packard have already taken up the 3-pillar approach [proposed by Special Representative Ruggie]...

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24 February 2010

[PDF] Keynote Address - “Engaging Business: Addressing Respect for Human Rights” - Atlanta; sponsored by US Council for Intl. Business, US Chamber of Commerce, Intl. Organization of Employers

Author: UN Special Representative on business & human rights John Ruggie

[sponsored by US Council for Intl. Business, US Chamber of Commerce, Intl. Organization of Employers] 
The business and human rights agenda has moved rapidly since 2005, and in a constructive direction that business itself has found helpful. Today...I’ll focus on two key issues addressed by this conference: the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and human rights due diligence...The term “responsibility” to respect rather than “duty” is meant to indicate that respecting rights is not an obligation current international human rights law generally imposes directly on companies, although elements may be reflected in domestic laws...it is a standard of expected conduct...now affirmed by the Council itself when it endorsed the Framework...How does a company avoid infringing on the rights of others, and address adverse impacts where they do occur? Here is where due diligence comes in. Human rights due diligence is a potential game changer for companies: from “naming and shaming” to “knowing and showing.”

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