Business and Human Rights Will Continue to Move Up as a Corporate Priority in 2015


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On December 31 2014, Forbes magazine published the article, Eight CSR Trends to Watch Out For in 2015. Of the eight corporate social responsibility trends presented, the prediction from Christine Bader (formerly responsible for human rights matters at BP and the author of 2014’s The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil) that companies step up to tackle human rights issues domestically and globally resonates particularly strongly when you consider the following developments and activities that have recently occurred or will be occurring in 2015:

  • The establishment of U.S. government business and human rights reporting requirements for U.S. firms operating in Myanmar continues to facilitate human rights due diligence from companies that meet the reporting criteria.
  • Likewise, the U.S. government’s Dodd-Frank conflict minerals provisions for companies that source specified minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo and other covered countries continues to help minimize the exploitation and trade in conflict minerals by armed groups in the DRC region. Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act also requires companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to publicly report how much they pay governments for access to oil, gas, and minerals.
  • In 2015 the continued adoption of new human rights and security standards and management frameworks (ANSI/ASIS PCS.1 and The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers) by private security companies and their clients, and the emergence of third party certification bodies to audit to the standards, will continue to further differentiate among security providers (and utilizers) and will create providers of choice in the private security industry.

When a business publication as established and respected as Forbes points out that the rising trend of business and human rights is on companies’ radars it shows that the concept has come of age.