Edited by Surya Deva and David Birchall
Chapter 5: Human rights due diligence in theory and practice
The spread of human rights due diligence has been one of the important innovations in recent efforts to secure responsible business conduct. Human rights due diligence encompasses not only the investigation and the identification of risk, which is a practice common to other forms of due diligence, but it describes the internal systems that can form the basis to transform business practice towards ongoing respect for human rights. The chapter locates human rights due diligence in the overall normative framework set out by the UNGPs and explores key concepts central to human rights due diligence, in particular the notions of respect, responsibility, risk and leverage. The chapter also considers due diligence a regulatory technique used in policy and law to encourage business respect for human rights in the context of transnational systems of production. The chapter considers some of the critiques of human rights due diligence and suggests that the ways in which human rights due diligence will be regulated and enforced will display significant levels of diversity, even as the core elements of due diligence – self assessment, actions to respond to risks detected, accounting for those actions – are likely to remain at the heart of definitions of responsible business.
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