in conflict areas
Businesses and investors are increasingly expanding operations in new countries as the globalisation evolves and integrates new markets – often in conflict-affected areas. Investments in these regions could be a vital stimulus for growth and development, helping pave the way for democratic development in the long term. However, when decisions are based on insufficient or inaccurate information, businesses can also have a negative impact and fuel conflict.
The Ruggie principles
One of the challenges that the business community is facing arises from growing expectations over corporate responsibility, and the complexity of relevant international standards and tools. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (‘the Ruggie principles’) from 2011 provide much-needed clarity on the scope of corporate responsibility in relation to human rights, including in conflict-affected and high-risk areas.
Tools are needed to assess entire processes
To address the issue of how this can be translated into corporate decisions and practice, many tools are developed by multilateral organizations, non-governmental, governmental organizations and corporations. Despite their differences, most tools aim to assist corporations in identifying, preventing and mitigating potential human rights risks. Tools need to be selected and adapted to each sector, country and unique set of stakeholders. They should be used at various points, both in early stages of start-up and planning as well as merger and acquisition and expansion.