Using human rights and a rights-based approach for investor engagement

A rights-based approach is about more than mitigating risks; it is about moving from doing no harm and handing out aid "charitably" to understanding that it is in everyone's best interest to operate in societies where rights are promoted and respected.
human rights investments

What you need to know

  • A rights-based approach is a tool – it helps “break up” society into specific areas that can be a focus for action and connect the various areas to ensure that focusing on one does not cause harm to another. Being sustainable is not about ticking boxes or added paperwork, but is about a method and a way of thinking.
  • It puts stakeholders at the centre of actions and allows for a change of direction if measures are not causing the desired positive effect.
  • It also helps steer internal governance based on tried and tested principles in government. Such as accountability, transparency and responsiveness. 
  • It assists in setting goals and indicators for progress.
Psychodynamics Updated on January 16, 2024

General Human Rights Principles are important as a foundation for understanding the effect any investment or action has on societies. The Human Rights Principles offer a basis for understanding how to not only avoid harm but also how to address it once it has happened, as well as for understanding the interconnectedness between not only rights but between environmental impact (and the rights involved in environmental actions, see below) as well as the concepts around good governance and the importance of engagement and of identifying stakeholders to fully understand the effect of investment decisions as well as company actions. They are also helpful to understand the underlying notion of engagement which has to be around continued efforts towards positive change.

The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This means that we are all equally entitled to our human rights. As first emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this principle is repeated in many international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions.

About the Authors

Kristina Touzenis

Kristina Touzenis

Human rights & international law

Kristina Touzenis is a lawyer with special expertise in human rights and international law.

Connect with Kristina Touzenis

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