When asked whether they have human rights training, many companies point to their training on health and safety, non-discrimination and labour policies. However, these areas only cover some human rights, and that training rarely refers to human rights expressly. Very few companies have training which extends to the entire spectrum of internationally recognised human rights, as is expected by the widely adopted UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Lack of such dedicated human rights training is a significant business risk, as BIICL's recent study with Norton Rose Fulbright has found. Based on a survey of over 150 companies world-wide, it showed that where companies processes consider human rights expressly then 77% identify adverse human rights impacts related to their operations and 73% identify human rights impacts linked to the activities of their third parties. In contrast, where companies only consider human rights through piecemeal existing processes, such as those for health and safety or labour standards, a mere 19% identified their own human rights impacts and 29% discovered human rights impacts linked to third parties.
This study also found that human rights-specific training enables companies to capitalise on the important preventative impact of training. Proactive companies are now beginning to include dedicated human rights training sessions into their existing regular training modules.
BIICL offers dynamic in-house human rights training for companies, sectors and groups. The aim is to equip participants with practical knowledge of the spectrum of internationally recognised human rights, how their company may impact these rights, and what actions to take to reduce these risks to their company.
BIICL has extensive experience in business and human rights issues, including events and training to business audiences of any size of business, as well as governments, civil society, legal professionals and others. Led by Professor Robert McCorquodale, Director of BIICL, and Lise Smit, Research Fellow in Business and Human Rights, the courses are designed to be practical and enable business people to recognise any adverse human rights impacts which may arise during the course of their business' operations, the legal and other risks that arise, and what actions to take to deal with these risks.
BIICL's in-house human rights training for companies takes place on a bespoke basis. Timing and scope will be based on your company's needs. To request more information or arrange such a training session for your organisation, email Lise Smit, Research Fellow in Business and Human Rights.