Business Ethics & Human Rights

Business Ethics & Human Rights

Overview

Organisations face increasing scrutiny, both at home and abroad, from regulators, NGOs and the media. Investors, lenders, customers and suppliers are also seeking assurance on the compliance, ethics and wider ESG credentials of their business partners. International human rights frameworks are now informing this scrutiny. The operations of companies, their subsidiaries and wider business associates (wherever located) are increasingly targeted by ‘long-arm’ legislation and international human rights frameworks. Businesses are more accountable than ever, both legally and reputationally, for ethical conduct and the fair treatment of workers and others involved in the supply chain as well as their own workforce.

Regulators are sharpening enforcement tools, with the EU setting its sights on mandatory due diligence and reporting requirements on human rights compliance, tracking developments already underway in the UK, for example, to enhance the Modern Slavery Act. The tax system is also being deployed as a means of promoting good corporate citizenship and ensuring businesses pay their fair share of tax, with a raft of recent anti-avoidance and tax compliance legislation and new reporting regimes, reinforced by a marked increase in tax investigations.

Given the growing complexity of global business structures and supply chains, compliance with the myriad of international trade, market access and foreign investment rules is challenging for any business.

Our cross-departmental Governance & Corporate Risk team has a strong reputation for helping clients to anticipate regulatory change, manage the broad range of legal, commercial and reputational risks associated with ESG issues and understand the interplay between regulation, soft law and best practice. We are working closely with clients across all sectors to navigate the fast-changing legal, commercial and reputational risks arising from the ethical business agenda. We have market-leading credentials in the following areas:

  • Business & human rights
  • Global supply chain issues
  • Modern slavery and human trafficking
  • Anti-bribery and corruption
  • Ethical taxation
  • Corporate reporting
  • Health and safety

Our work spans the full spectrum of risk in this area including corporate due diligence, governance structures, policies and procedures, supplier codes of conduct and board-level responsibilities as well as crisis response, investigations, managing activist shareholders and litigation.

EXAMPLES OF WORK IN THIS AREA INCLUDE