Do Companies Need to Consider Their Human Rights "Foot-Print"? Or "Hand-Print"? Or Both?

Do Companies Need to Consider Their Human Rights "Foot-Print"? Or "Hand-Print"? Or Both?

by Isobel O'Connell
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Why companies should start anticipating greater expectations of their conduct via @CSRwire #HumanRights

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Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 12:30pm


Similar to a carbon footprint, which measures a company’s greenhouse gas emissions, the human rights footprint of companies has been scrutinized for many years with addressing such issues as slavery in their supply chains, lawsuits, consumer pressure, and occasionally of their own volition. Business’ human rights footprints should include at the very least their labour practices and supply chain processes, but also the financial support that they knowingly or unknowingly (risk management) could be supporting oppressive regimes through commercial engagement.

While companies will continue to be pressured by activists - and in sometimes in law or regulation by their government - asking them to examine and manage their human rights footprint risks, perhaps it is time for business to evaluate their human rights handprint (opportunity management) too.

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Isobel has supported a diverse range of companies on corporate responsibility issues such as sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement, reporting, human rights, and audits.  She is passionate about the role that sustainability and strategy can play in value creation both for business and the wider community.

Prior to her current position with Qatar Petroleum in Doha, Isobel spent more than eight years consulting on energy efficiency, sustainability, and renewable energy for various energy and public-sector clients, such as Shell and Abu National Oil Companies (ADNOC).