Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - a brief description
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is the only non-profit organization drawing attention to the human rights impacts (positive & negative) of over 5100 companies, operating in over 180 countries. Our website is relied on by businesspeople, advocates, governments, investors and the UN. We expose reality in a field too often dominated by rhetoric, and help protect vulnerable people and communities against abuses. We also provide guidance materials and examples of good practice.
We seek responses from companies to allegations of misconduct: ensuring that our coverage is balanced and encouraging firms to address concerns raised by civil society. The response rate is over 70% globally. Advocates thank us for bringing global attention to their concerns and for eliciting responses from companies. Companies thank us for providing them the opportunity to present their responses in full. This process often leads to real improvements on the ground.
Taking international human rights standards as our starting point, topics covered include discrimination, environment, poverty and development, labour, access to medicines, health and safety, security, trade. Guide to how to use the website.
“An essential guide to the world's companies and their records on human rights.”
“No debate can move forward, no positive change can be made, without facts. The Resource Centre is the only website to provide such a broad range of balanced information on business and human rights – company by company, country by country, issue by issue.”
Mary Robinson (President of Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice; former Director of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative; former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland)
“The Resource Centre has won a big following among companies, governments, investors, non-government organizations and journalists.”
Financial Times, “A Fair Approach to Human Rights”
To encourage companies to respect and promote human rights, and avoid harm to people. We do this by advancing:
• Transparency – pursuing, collecting and disseminating to a global audience information about company conduct, positive and negative;
• Public accountability – helping civil society get companies to address concerns; seeking responses and drawing attention to each company’s response or failure to respond; and
• Informed decision-making – providing the leading business & human rights resource and guidance hub, to assist civil society, companies and others.
An international organization
The Resource Centre has offices in London and New York and regional researchers based in Brazil, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, UK, Ukraine and USA. Our regional researchers draw global attention to the human rights impacts of companies in their region, seek responses from companies when civil society raises concerns, and establish close contacts with grassroots NGOs, local businesspeople and others. See Staff and regional researchers section for more details.
Our International Advisory Network of over 70 experts is chaired by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland.
Our Academic Partners are 23 institutions recognised internationally for their expertise in issues relevant to business and human rights.
Independence & status
The Resource Centre is an independent non-profit:
UK: Registered Charity in England & Wales (no. 1096664)
USA: tax-exempt non-profit organisation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
Funded by independent foundations, foreign ministries and development agencies of several governments, non-governmental organizations, and individuals. We do not accept donations from companies, company foundations, or senior executives at major corporations, in order to maintain independence and prevent any conflict of interest.
The website links to a wide range of materials originating from: NGOs; companies and business organisations; UN, ILO and other intergovernmental organisations; governments and courts; policy experts and academics; social investment analysts; and the media.
We are undertaking a major upgrade and re-design of our website, to make it more accessible and user-friendly; we hope that the new site will be launched by the end of 2013.
The site contains materials in English, Spanish and French, and a few in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and German. The new website will have social media features, and will include full navigation in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish
- The Resource Centre was named by University of Connecticut in 2013 as recipient of the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights, a prize established “to honour outstanding individuals and organizations that have made a significant effort to advance the cause of international justice and global human rights.”
- The Resource Centre has been named by American Library Association as one of the world's best reference websites
- It was included on the Phoenix 50 List, announced at Skoll World Forum 2009: “There are many organizations dedicated to promoting human rights, but very few that focus on the interface with business — and none that do it as well as the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. It is the leading player helping grow a whole generation of organizations and networks which promote human rights issues within global business.”
- Bloomberg has added its news section to the newsfeed on its equity terminals
- The United Nations and Intl. Labour Organization have, at their request, linked their sites to the Resource Centre's site.
Weekly Updates: including company responses to concerns
Our free Weekly Updates send the top stories on business and human rights to thousands of opinion leaders worldwide. We invite companies to respond to reports that criticise their conduct, and include their responses alongside the original reports. This keeps the Updates balanced, and encourages companies to publicly address human rights concerns being raised by civil society. Click here to find out more about the Weekly Updates and to sign up.
We produce a range of bulletins:
- regional briefings;
- quarterly & annual Corporate Legal Accountability briefings;
- semi-annual Private Military & Security Companies bulletin;
- quarterly Business & Children bulletin;
- "On the Horizon - A practical bulletin on what is ahead in the field of business & human rights" (5 per year)
The website features sub-portals accessible from the home page and all internal pages. The portals bring together in one place key materials on subjects of particular interest. The following portals are currently available:
Getting Started – an introduction to the subject generally, and to specific business and human rights issues
Tools & Guidance – practical guidance to help companies operationalise human rights – for use by businesspeople and others
Business, Conflict & Peace - focusing on conflict zones, where abuses are most severe, where the risk of corporate complicity is greatest, and where victims are the most vulnerable
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – tools & guidance for implementation, examples of implementation & use by all sectors, and commentaries
UN Working Group on business & human rights – featuring the work of the Working Group including reports, statements & country visits, and commentaries about it
Corporate Legal Accountability – profiling human rights lawsuits brought against companies around the world
UN Special Representative on business & human rights – featuring the work of the United Nations Special Representative, John Ruggie, during his 2005-2011 mandate, and commentaries about it
We welcome your comments, responses to items on our site, and suggested additions.
The Resource Centre has offices in London and New York. We also have regional researchers in Latin America (based in Brazil and Colombia), Eastern Europe (based in Ukraine), East Asia (based in Hong Kong), South Asia (based in India), Southeast Asia (based in Thailand), Francophone Africa (based in Senegal), Anglophone Africa (based in Kenya and South Africa), Middle East (based in Lebanon and Jordan). Contact us here.
The appearance of hyperlinks within the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre library/website does not constitute endorsement by the Resource Centre of the websites they lead to or the information contained therein. The Resource Centre does not exercise editorial control over the information in the linked websites, and cannot guarantee their factual accuracy. As with any library, the purpose of this website is to provide for the user a wide selection of materials representing diverse views on matters of public interest. The Resource Centre's collaborative partners are not involved in compiling the library.