Authoritative human rights advice
Business and human rights
Authoritative human rights advice
Addressing human rights concerns is no longer just a CSR priority but alongside anti-bribery and corruption issues, it’s a core part of corporate compliance.
With the legal landscape in relation to business and human rights changing, global companies are having to evaluate, respond to and respect human rights as a legal obligation.
As a major international law firm with a dedicated global business and human rights practice, the first international law firm to sign the United Nations Global Compact, and experience assisting with the research that led to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Freshfields can help.
We regularly advise large multinational companies and public authorities on the full suite of issues arising out of the UN Guiding Principles.
Our focus is on helping companies respect international human rights and comply with the related ‘hard law’, ie new modern slavery and non-financial reporting regulations, particularly in Europe and the development of the OECD National Contacts Points complaint procedures.
We also advise on operational human rights compliance issues, such as:
- human rights policies and procedures;
- internal and external capacity building and reporting requirements;
- impact of national legislation such as the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the 2017 French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law; and
- grievance and remediation processes.
Our practice is global in scope. We have a dedicated, cross-disciplinary team of experienced partners and associates advising our clients across the world. Part of this work involves monitoring international human rights law developments in real-time, and providing regular updates via our human rights blog.
Advising a major oil and gas consortium on its responses to a complaint to the UK, US and Italian OECD national contact points by NGOs alleging violations of environmental and human rights provisions of the OECD’s Guidelines of Multinational Enterprises (incorporating the Guiding Principles).
Advising various major financial institutions on designing, drafting and providing training on human rights policies that were intended to balance the requirements of human rights law and business law, including in relation to whistleblowing, data protection and use of social media.
Conducting a global comparative survey in a group of firms assisting the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights to respond to a request from United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association on the legal environment for corporations and civil society.
The research is to be used to guide the Special Rapporteur’s next formal report to the United Nations General Assembly, which would discuss the current trends in barriers and ease of non-state actors to engage in their right of association, which includes registration, access to resources, support, and ability to engage in activities.
Advising an international private equity investor (after the acquisition of the specific target) on the review of the title of the target in different sites and real property formerly acquired in the context of the aryanization, including a due diligence review of the adequacy of the respective settlement and acquisition agreements as well as alleged historical violations.
Assisting a major European mining company with expropriation procedures and the development of open-cast mines, in particular dealing with social and ecological issues.
Defending a major European energy supply company against a claim for compensation based on the alleged contribution to climate change and the resulting consequences for the safety and living conditions of a community in South America
Advising a multinational personal products company on the revision and application of child labour laws through its supply chain, notably in Africa and South America.
Bowden, Paul/Das, Deba: The International Business and Human Rights Agenda – The Shifting Landscape for Producers (PDF, 4.76KB), in: ICLG to: Product Liability, 2014
Kasolowsky, Boris/Voland, Thomas: The Ruggie Revolution (Die Ruggie Revolution: Menschenrechte im unternehmerischen Handeln), in: Anwaltsblatt 5/2014, pp.388-392
Kasolowsky, Boris/Voland, Thomas: The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and their application by National Contact Points (Die OECD-Leitsätze für multinationale Unternehmen und ihre Durchsetzung im Wege von Beschwerdeverfahren vor der Nationalen Kontaktstelle), in: Neue Zeitschrift für Gesellschaftsrecht 2014, pp.1288-1292
Voland, Thomas: Business and Human Rights - From Soft to Hard Law (Unternehmen und Menschenrechte - Vom Soft Law zur Rechtspflicht), in: Betriebs-Berater 2015, pp.67-75
Voland, Thomas: New Reporting Obligations under the CSR-Reporting Directive 2014/95/EU (Erweiterung der Berichtspflichten für Unternehmen nach der neuen CSR-Richtlinie), in: Der Betrieb 2014, pp.2815-2818
Voland, Thomas: Social and ecological responsibility of financial institutions (Soziale und ökologische Verantwortung von Unternehmen des Finanzsektors), in: Bauer, Denise/Schuster, Gunnar: Nachhaltigkeit im Bankensektor, 2016, pp.251-272