It is increasingly expected that human rights due diligence (HRDD) is undertaken by businesses, as per the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises, emerging laws such as the UK Modern Slavery Act and the French duty of vigilance law, and other proposed legislative reforms.
According to the UNGPs, all business enterprises regardless of sector have a responsibility to respect human rights, and to carry out necessary HRDD. This also applies to private equity investors. Failure to identify, prevent and address adverse human rights impacts may lead to reputational, operational, financial and legal risk.
This paper summarises discussions from a workshop convened by BIICL and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in June 2017, with the aim of exploring implications of expectations for HRDD by investors, private equity firms and/or their portfolio companies, and to discuss what guidance and direction is needed.