ESG (environment, social and corporate governance) issues, including human rights, have increasingly become a board level concern as the trend towards stakeholder capitalism and regulatory intervention on the topic has grown.
Actions to impose statutory responsibilities on directors, to introduce programmes on specific issues (such as forced labour and conflict minerals), to mandate disclosure and transparency, and to threaten the corporate licence to operate through sanctions or restrictions on procurement, have all contributed to an increasing corporate focus on human rights that we expect only to heighten over the next few years.
In the UK, directors are subject to a duty to consider the impact of a company’s operations on the community and the environment. Human rights considerations come within that limb of the duty (which itself is part of a wider duty on directors to promote the success of a company).
Read the full article as originally published in Ethical Boardroom here.