What is the Relationship between Respecting and Supporting Human Rights?
This Guidance is focused on helping companies meet their responsibility to respect the HRWS, however, companies endorsing the CEO Water Mandate, like other UNGC signatories, also commit to take measures to support human rights.
Supporting human rights means additional voluntary actions that go beyond respecting human rights to contribute to the realization of those rights. Such support can be provided through:
- Core business
- Strategic social investment or philanthropy
- Public policy engagement or advocacy
- Partnerships and other forms of collective action
For example, a company operates in a water-stressed area where there is inadequate sanitation for large segments of the population. It is also an area where the local community is a key source of staff and/or customers for the company. In line with its responsibility to respect, the company has assessed whether it is involved with any negative impacts on the community’s ability to enjoy the rights to water and sanitation, and has not identified any such impacts.
The company decides to contribute to programs that address water and sanitation needs in the community, and can help improve health outcomes, because of the close relationship between its business and the local community. However, in taking the time to listen to potentially affected stakeholders as part of its impact assessment process, and by ensuring that all individuals and groups in the community were heard, the company also learned that women and girls in the community face particular challenges in accessing sanitation facilities and that it is impacting their safety, security, health, and in the case of girls, their access to education. The company decides to work with local authorities and a local NGO with a strong track record to contribute to the realization of the HRWS.