the UN Declaration of Human Rights

The Corporate Responsibility to Respect (CR2R) in Human Rights Policies and Governance: Expectations of Portfolio Companies and Other Business Relationships

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As momentum for ESG investing builds, portfolio companies must focus on implementing their responsibility to respect human rights, which lies at the core of sustainable business operations. The UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights establishes the internationally recognized framework to enable the corporate responsibility to respect human rights (CR2R). What do investors need to know about CR2R to hold their portfolio companies accountable for their human rights performance?   

The Investor Alliance for Human Rights has developed a five-part webinar series that systematically discusses the elements of CR2R. The Guiding Principles establish that both investors and companies must respect human rights and prevent, mitigate, and remediate harms. By communicating precise expectations to portfolio companies, investors are better able to assess and address their human rights risks, while contributing to rights-respecting and socially sustainable investment activities.     

This CR2R webinar series is aimed at informing and supporting investors in their engagements with their portfolio companies on their human rights performance, including investors participating in the Investor Alliance’s initiative engaging companies that scored poorly on the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark.    

The first webinar focuses on Human Rights Policies and Governance and will address questions such as:  

  • What should a human rights policy cover to evidence a strong commitment to respect human rights?  
  • How should a human rights policy be developed and communicated?  
  • Who is accountable for its implementation?  
  • How do investors know if a company is meaningfully embedding its responsibility to respect human rights? 

Future webinars in the series will explore the elements of human rights due diligence, effective grievance mechanisms, and meaningful stakeholder engagement. 

Speakers:

  • Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt, Associate Program Director, Investor Alliance for Human Rights
  • Camille Le Pors, Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Lead, World Benchmarking Alliance
  • Pat Zerega, Senior Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Mercy Investment Services
  • Lauren Compere, Director of Shareholder Engagement, Boston Common Asset Management 


Watch a recording of this webinar: 

Slides from the webinar are linked below.

Learn more about this webinar series in this vlog:

Visit our dedicated YouTube playlist for additional videologs examining what human rights are and why investors should care; the relationship between human rights, SDGs, and ESG; and governance and leadership indicators for a rights-respecting corporate culture. 

Background Materials

International frameworks:

Benchmarking methodology:

  • Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, 2022-2023 Methodology, Theme A: Governance and Policy Commitments, pp. 14-22

Reporting frameworks:

Guidance:

Examples of human rights policies: