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Top 10 Issues that will Frame Corporate Responsibility in 2017

10 December 2016

The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), a global think tank, today published its eighth annual “Top 10” list of business and human rights issues for the coming year.

The human rights challenges anticipated for 2017 reflect a stark shift in social, political and economic drivers at the global level. At risk is the erosion of an international system upholding human rights protections and the rule of law within businesses and economies.

IHRB’s Top 10 Business and Human Rights Issues for 2017 are:

  • INEQUALITY: The business role
  • GIG ECONOMY: The rise of Internet-enabled work
  • REFUGEES: Setting strategies with business
  • TRADE DEALS: Upholding human rights in a new era 
  • VALUE CHAINS: Leveling the playing field
  • INFORMED CONSENT: The realm of big data
  • FREE SPEECH: Responsibility in the age of social media
  • CONSTRUCTION WORKERS: Building the world’s infrastructure
  • AUTOMATION: Preserving workers’ rights

IHRB’s annual list of priorities prompts businesses, governments and civil society organisations determine their strategies for responding to some of the biggest human rights challenges anticipated over the next 12 months.

Commenting on the launch of the 2017 list, IHRB’s Chief Executive, John Morrison, said:

“We have really all failed, those of us who have been working on human rights issues around business for the past 15 years, to communicate the relevance to wider society.

“This new era of growing nationalist, populist and protectionist politics has dramatically changed the rhetoric behind forthcoming economic, trade, and investment agreements between nations, behind leadership to level global value chains, behind refugee strategies, behind legal accountability mechanisms for business, and more.

The rights implications are enormous. Basic protections for the workers and communities are at risk, which will be eroded if perceived as barriers to new jobs and reinvigorated economies.

“More fundamentally, the extreme inequality we see in the world today represents both a cause and a consequence of a global failure to uphold basic rights and human dignity. These rights impacts drive inequality. At the same time, unequal societies are more likely to pose challenges to rights protections. 

“The human rights movement faces a perilous future, and it is up to all of us – civil society, governments as well as businesses – to champion the issues people care about and make human rights relevant to their daily lives.

The top ten list is selected by IHRB's expert staff, informed by a global online poll conducted by IHRB.


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Haley St. Dennis

For any media enquiries please contact:

Haley St. Dennis

Head of Communications, IHRB

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+1 801 910 3085

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