Sunday, August 9, 2020

UN Guiding Principles and Black Lives Matter

A few weeks ago, many businesses were composing statements of support for the Black Lives Matter protests and issuing calls to combat systemic racism.  The Shift project, a non-profit that works with businesses to address human rights, points out that these responses have almost always been framed as voluntary commitments of socially conscious companies. Shift says, "that needs to change."

In fact, argues Shift, "all businesses have an ironclad responsibility to address their connections to these underlying inequalities, as set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights."  Shift has published a useful briefing note explaining some of the implications of this responsibility.  Among other things, Shift asserts that under the Guiding Principles, businesses must be ready to support protesters, and should examine their own products and practices for connections to discrimination.

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