| By Kristina Touzenis, Legal Director Presidium Network and independent consultant on social sustainability
Momentum is clearly growing for mandatory human rights as well as environmental due diligence, with companies and investors lining up alongside civil society, workers, governments and unions to call for effective laws to oversee human rights protections.
Using a human rights lens on investor engagement and on expectations for businesses is a real opportunity to advance progress on the S pillar as well as on the G pillar in ESG. Obstacles to the realization of human rights are so connected to root causes of inequality in society and having an ongoing engagement on human rights with the investee is a real opportunity to connect the E and S and G pillars as well as “unlock” the S pillar in a meaningful concrete way.
Using a rights-based approach, truly captures the interconnectedness between environmental factors and societal issues. It also captures the interconnectedness of the SDGs and all three pillars of ESG are parts of a just transition to sustainable development.
A number of court cases are being determined these years on environmental damage, based on human rights, and there is e.g. an increased awareness that the rush to green(er) energy and electrical vehicles is requiring rare earth minerals which have to be extracted in a way that does not violate rights, including importantly children’s rights in the extraction industries and surrounding areas and societies.
Human Rights and effective Human Rights due diligence is becoming not an optional – but an imperative for investors and investees alike. Get ready.
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