This article, sent by Anastasia Lite, student in the University of Cape Town, is part of our Student Writing contest about Business and Human Rights. You can know more about this contest here.
By sharing this post, you will increase Anastasia’s chances to win the first prize: let’s tweet it, ‘Facebook’ it and ‘LinkedIn” it!
A human right is a right which every human being is inherently entitled to. The basic rights to which all humans are considered to be entitled include the rights to life, liberty, equality, freedom from slavery and torture and freedom of thought and expression.
A business strategy can simply be described as a plan to be implemented by a business to achieve a desired goal.
The world has become a global city- thanks to technology and the internet (especially social media). People are, more than ever, aware about what goes on, where it goes on and who it involves. With this increased awareness comes along increased activism and scrutiny of businesses.
There are a variety of ways in which businesses can integrate the promotion of human rights together with their business strategy. Firstly, businesses should encourage open dialogue between workers and management to discuss any ideas for a better workplace or any grievances the workers may have. It should be a fair, transparent dialogue where workers do not feel threatened to voice their concerns.
Secondly, businesses should endeavour to not make minorities and women feel alienated or unwelcome in the workplace. This can be achieved through sensitivity and diversity workshops held by qualified practitioners. This is especially pertinent to companies in sectors which may be traditionally male dominated or dominated by certain ethnic or cultural groups due to prior laws.
Thirdly, businesses should try endeavour to ensure that their business operations have a minimal impact on our environment. This could be by using safer disposal of waste products, having a ‘paperless’ office or even introducing and encouraging recycling in the workplace or in the surrounding community.
Fourthly, businesses can further implement the integration of human rights into its business strategy by running education programs or traineeship programs for young adults from rural communities. Although training may be costly to begin with, in the long run the company will not only be training future workers for their own company’s benefit but also enriching the community through education and skills development.
In the modern world, a business is more than just production and services. Businesses are brands with responsibilities. They are open to scrutiny. And, they have a plethora of expectations to fulfil in order to survive in a world where social consciousness and activism is at the forefront of the minds of many a youth.