September 4th saw Vince Cable and William Hague launch a publication called ‘Good Business: Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ at a special event. This means that the UK is leading the world when it comes to providing guidance to organisations about human rights integration in operations.
The business secretary and foreign secretary were joined by several guest speakers at the launch occasion, reports the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
The newly released document lays out the government's expectations when it comes to companies from the UK and human rights protection.
It forms the response to Guiding Principles laid out in this area by the UN, which is a framework recognised the world over.
The document also adds to Companies Act changes that will begin on October 1st this year. These will mean that big companies have to potentially report extra information, in some cases about human rights.
Government expectations discussed in the plan include that companies take on proper policies for mitigating and preventing risks to human rights, making commitments to keeping abreast of and evaluating how these are implemented.
They must also take the time to consult those people that might be impacted at each stage of a project.
"Doing business with respect for human rights matters. It’s good for people, for prosperity and for the UK," said Conservative MP William Hague.
"We believe firmly that the promotion of business and respect for human rights should go hand in hand. That’s why the UK is showing leadership in helping companies to understand it and pushing other states to follow suit."
He urged companies to cooperate with the government in the implementation of the plan, saying he hoped fellow nations would follow this country's lead.
According to the plan, the government is going to give support to companies in keeping their human rights obligations both here and overseas, as well as taking other action.
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