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Business and Human Rights

Demonstrating respect for human rights has never been so important for businesses. We have been at the forefront of this area since its emergence and have the experience, perspective and innovative approach necessary to help you meet the challenges it presents.

With the rise of ESG and new legislation on human rights and supply chain due diligence, showing respect for human rights is increasingly an important area of focus for businesses. The increased scrutiny means implementing robust policies and processes to identify, prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts is relevant to supply chain, business relationships, investor relations, brand management and access to finance. It will also be important to minimise the risk of litigation and reputational damage. If managed successfully, these policies and processes can be significant brand and business enablers.

In light of the changing regulatory landscape, many businesses are refining their human rights policy commitments and implementing them in earnest through due diligence processes, impact assessments and compliance systems.

Linklaters’ cross-border Business and Human Rights practice has been at the forefront of advising on these themes for a number of years.

Our latest business and human rights podcasts

Trends in claims against multinationals in connection with human rights or environmental impacts abroad

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Human Rights Due Diligence - Prioritisation and where to start

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ESG Summer School 2022 - ESG disclosure: Human rights disclosures

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ESG Summer School 2022 - ESG disclosure: Human rights disclosures and the link with due diligence

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Building business and human rights due diligence into business as usual

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Getting practical: Human rights due diligence in M&A transactions

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Remedy: Preventing and addressing adverse human rights impacts

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How Linklaters can help you

Human rights governance

Good governance is key to managing human rights risk. Our expertise on the soft law and regulatory landscape and knowledge of market practice helps us review and uplift existing, or design and implement new, frameworks, policies, and procedures to ensure clients can identify and manage their human rights risks.

Human rights due diligence

Whether in relation to their own supply chains, in the course of their M&A or investment activity or as part of enhanced diligence for specific projects, we help clients identify and understand potential and actual human rights impacts, their implications and how to manage them.

Human rights compliance

As the landscape becomes more heavily regulated, we are helping clients stay on top of developments and take steps to ensure compliance with new requirements. This includes both new due diligence regimes and reporting requirements, whether clients are directly in-scope or indirectly impacted through their activities and relationships.

Litigation and liability risks

We help clients understand and handle questions, complaints, allegations, claims and other forms of action from a range of stakeholders, including NGOs, local communities, regulators, and investors. We also help clients take steps to minimise the risk of such actions happening in the first place or repeating, as well as with remedy.

Our key business and human rights experience

Advising companies in a range of sectors such as ICT, transport and finance/asset management on the updating or development of human rights and related policies, considering particular sensitivities by sector (e.g., freedom of association) and new regulatory requirements (e.g., Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, EU Taxonomy).

Advising a range of clients on the development of their human rights governance frameworks, including assisting with preparing and implementing policies and due diligence processes, providing training, and giving recommendations on internal and external reporting, grievance mechanisms and remediation.

Advising on the application of new laws in France, Germany, other European jurisdictions, the US and at EU level (e.g., Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive) relating to supply/value chain due diligence and risk management with a particular focus on business and human rights.

Developing supplier codes of conduct and investment policies and procedures and related contractual drafting for a number of multinational corporations and financial institutions with reference to new regulatory regimes and soft law standards like the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and ILO conventions amongst other things.

Advising on resettlement, land rights, protection of cultural heritage and health and safety in major project financings.

Advising on the application of social and human rights aspects of international standards such as the Equator Principles, IFC Performance Standards and OECD Common Approaches on a range of market-leading project financings.

Advising various major corporations on parent company liability risks for human rights abuses by their subsidiaries or business partners, including potential increases to this risk as a result of mandatory due diligence proposals at EU and Member State level.

Advising on the OECD National Contact Point complaints process and the ‘case law’ this has created in relation to human rights risk management and governance.

Advising a range of clients, including extractive sector companies and investment banks, on how to respond to NGO activism and sustained NGO campaigns on human rights issues.

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