Business leaders MUST build back better by focusing on the vulnerable

For business, COVID-19 should not just be viewed as an economic tragedy, but a socio-economic opportunity, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

“The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the inequalities and vulnerabilities that are present in most current business models,” she said. “The pandemic has had dramatic impacts on people but at the same time, it also gives us the opportunity to address shortcomings in respect for human rights that have fundamentally weakened our global and national systems. It gives us an opportunity to build a better future for all, where human rights are at the centre of our business models and where prosperity is shared.”

“The companies that get their response to the crisis right are those who focus first on the most vulnerable,” she said. “Business needs to look beyond the generic categories of “stakeholders” – employees, suppliers, customers, communities – to give due consideration to those who are most vulnerable, especially those in a company’s global supply chains.”

Bachelet urged business leaders to look to the Guiding Principles on business and human rights, as a way to remake their companies in the recovery from the pandemic.

“The enormous human impact of the pandemic shows that vulnerability is the lens that businesses must apply in their decisions moving forward,” she said. “Principles and values provide essential guidance on how to navigate such challenges in these uncertain times.”

“Business participants of the Global Compact need to decide whether to return to the ‘business as usual’ or to ‘build back better’.”Read More

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