Set of Tools on Implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Launched Today

Sep 15, 2011 1:40 PM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) September 15, 2011 - A consortium of leading global organizations today launched a first-of-its-kind practical guide to help companies maintain operational security while ensuring respect for human rights and humanitarian law.

The Implementation Guidance Tools to the widely recognized multi-stakeholder initiative, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, are particularly targeted at companies operating in geographical areas of conflict and weak governance. 

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights were developed in 2000 by governments, companies in the extractive and energy sector, and non-governmental organizations. The Voluntary Principles are non-binding and offer practical guidance to companies that helps maintain the safety and security of their operations while ensuring respect for human rights and humanitarian law. The Voluntary Principles also provide an opportunity for participants, which include governments, companies, and non-governmental organizations, to engage in mutual learning.

With support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the in-depth and hands-on toolkit was developed and co-financed by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues (IPIECA). Throughout the course of the project, the Voluntary Principles Participants provided feedback on the Tools to make them more effective and user-friendly.

Users of the Implementation Guidance Tools will directly benefit from the recorded experiences of many governments, non-governmental organisations, and extractive and energy sector companies that have been applying the Voluntary Principles since their launch in 2000.

The Implementation Guidance Tools are targeted at staff responsible for corporate security and human rights commitment at the project level. They are non-prescriptive and can be used both by Voluntary Principles participants and non-participant companies.

Applied and referenced whenever security is required and human rights could be at risk, the set of tools contains four modules, which can be used either individually or together. The modules cover a comprehensive journey of discovery, analysis, planning and implementation under the Voluntary Principles.

·         Module 1 Stakeholder Engagement

·         Module 2 Risk Assessment

·         Module 3 Public Security Providers

·         Module 4 Private Security Providers

Implementing the principles improves corporate judgement and decision-making. Direct business benefits include: reductions in production delays; access to financing; mitigation of litigation risk; safeguarding companies’ reputations; operating confidently in complex business environments.

Media comments from the four organizations which developed the Implementation Guidance Tools:

Aidan Davy, Director, ICMM, said: “One strength of this guidance is that it is informed by the rich experiences of those who contributed to its development, derived from addressing the implementation challenges that participants in the Voluntary Principles have been grappling with for over a decade.”

ICRC economic adviser Claude Voillat said: “Extractive industry operations are very sensitive, in particular in areas of armed conflict or weak governance. Careless management by companies of their interaction with private or public security forces can encourage violence, for instance. Companies need to be extremely cautious and alert, in order to minimize their negative impact on populations in areas where they operate. The Implementation Guidance Tools can help them do this and are therefore a very welcome development.”

William Bulmer, Director, Environment, Social, and Governance Department, IFC, said:  "The Implementation Guidance Tools (IGT) are a new and useful resource for companies seeking to maintain the safety and security of their business activities. Benefiting from the experience of Voluntary Principles participants, the interactive modules and real-world scenarios help companies in any industry  −  not only in the extractive and energy sectors  −  to engage stakeholders and assess the risks and impacts of their security operations. Designed to be practical and adaptive, this wide range of tools can be easily integrated into companies’ existing due diligence and project management procedures to enhance protection for both company activities and local community members."

Estella Nucci, Social Responsibility Project Manager, IPIECA, said: “This guidance is extremely practical and hands-on. Our aim was to produce a concise, interactive workbook with a wide range of assessment, planning, action and reference tools. We will continue promoting the use of this document across the oil and gas industries.”

The Implementation Guidance Tools are free to download from:

For more information about the Voluntary Principles, visit:

For questions on how to participate, contact the Voluntary Principles Secretariat at: