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HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACT ASSESSMENTS

This service is at the core of human rights due diligence as explained by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Human rights impact assessments are a tool of knowledge: knowledge of what adverse human rights impacts business have or can have. Human rights impacts assessments only work if there is trust. If a company does not provide full access to what is necessary to assess, chances are to end up with only part of the picture, and the issues that did not surface will continue to hunt you until they are fixed.

The best part of human rights impacts assessment is that they provide companies with knowledge, and knowledge is power: the power to change and address human rights adverse impacts. The size of the company clearly matters too in terms of what to assess (i.e. operations/ units/ sites/ a subsidiary), but also who to involve in the process (i.e. human resources, legal, procurement, environmental departments, etc.). If you want to know your operations impacts, then a stakeholders mapping and engagement is something you may want to consider doing. For more information about this process, please have a look at my service Stakeholders Engagement.

 

Another aspect which is generally looked at in impacts assessments is what kind of policies the company already has in place, and how to bridge the gaps with what international standards and guidelines recommend. The Policy Gap Analysis service will provide you with more insight on this topic. Once you conduct a first human rights impact assessment, you can use its results as a baseline to keep monitoring your company’s impact. 

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GAINS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Knowledge of the adverse human rights impacts in your business operations

Understanding the perspective of the stakeholders relevant to your business

Addressing in a responsible way the adverse impacts identified

Become an industry-leading example, paving the way for a consistent and structured approach to business environmental, social and human rights footprints

INSIGHTS

It’s important to choose how to identify and assess your company’s human rights risks. Before conducting a human rights impact assessment you are welcome to make a self-assessment, it will be useful in the knowledge gaining process. Here you can find the Danish Institute for Human Rights self-assessment tool for companies. Now, self-assessments have their own limitations. Just to mention one, it will only tell you about what you perceive your impacts to be, which is not necessarily the same as what the individuals and communities affected by your business operations experience. 

 

Alternatively, you could also conduct a human rights impacts assessment with your in-house staff, but again there are some limitations to this approach. For example, the stakeholders you interact with may not feel at ease with company’s representatives, for example, employees or contractors’ employees may fear to lose their job or to have other repercussions if they openly speak up about the human rights challenges they face. That’s when you need an external human rights specialist to pitch in, and I can help you with that.