Learn about the relationships between global business and human rights. Explore how companies can manage their human rights impact and how human rights abuses during business operations can be addressed more effectively.
Business enterprises can severely affect human rights. They can provide employment opportunities and improve our daily lives, or they can harm the environment, destroy people’s livelihoods, exploit workers, and forcibly evict local groups.
Businesses have the responsibility to respect human rights wherever they operate. The United Nations Human Rights Council repeatedly endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a set of guidelines for companies to address human rights abuses committed in business operations. The Guiding Principles stipulate that business enterprises must prevent, mitigate, and remedy all human rights abuses that they cause or contribute to.
Companies must develop policies that respect human rights, they must undertake ongoing human rights due diligence to identify and account for their human rights impacts and they must have mechanisms in place to provide effective remedies.
The edX online course Global Business and Human Rights, offered by Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) provides a thorough introduction to this complex and timely topic. In this course you will learn about the links between global supply chains, business activities and human rights and you will explore the international documents, frameworks and guidelines that relate to human rights abuses committed by business enterprises.
The course will address several human rights issues such as forced labour, slavery, discrimination, forceful eviction, health and safety risks to workers, freedom of expression among others. Together with your peers, you will discover examples of companies that actively address human rights issues and analyse concepts, approaches, and tools they use to manage their human rights impacts.
After completing the course, you will be better equipped to explain how business activities in different sectors are linked to human rights issues in a globalized world and what concrete and actionable steps can be taken to address human rights abuses during business operations and provide effective remedies.
This online course takes roughly 6 weeks to complete. You can choose to audit the course for free or opt into the paid verified track to access additional features and qualify to earn a verified certificate upon completion.