The first two principles of the UN Global Compact, which are derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are:
Human rights remains one of the most challenging areas of corporate citizenship. In part, this is because human rights have traditionally been the concern of states, and international human rights law has generally been addressed to them only. As more companies come to realize their legal, moral and/or commercial need to address human rights issues within their own operations and activities, they are confronted with a number of challenges. For example, there is the need to come to grips with the human rights framework and how a company’s own activities might relate to it. In addition, companies are often uncertain how to avoid complicity in human rights abuse and where the boundaries of their human rights responsibility lie.
Whatever one's stance in the ongoing business and human rights debate, it is clear that there is a keen demand for tools and guidance to help companies with their implementation efforts. The Global Compact Office hopes to bring more clarity to this debate by highlighting the relevance of human rights for business, demonstrating the business case for human rights, emphasizing practical solutions, and pointing to useful tools and guidance materials. Our goal is to show that advancing human rights is not just about managing risks and meeting standards and expectations, it is also about realizing new opportunities.