Industries present in areas of high complexity due to conflict situations have a fundamental role in the transition processes towards peace and healthy coexistence. Establishing mechanisms and actions to avoid discord and violence must be part of a multi-stakeholder process in which companies play a significant role.
What concrete actions should be taken and how should they be addressed?
Although there are various mechanisms, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), an initiative created in 2000 between governments, companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), provide a binding guide for companies that want to improve their practices and develop their operations with security and respect for human rights.
Adopting them entails a high commitment in their implementation, but also represents great benefits, if the task is done well.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Management commitment: The first step is the full commitment of the company's management, which entails the decision to align policies, procedures and corporate strategy to the VPs.
- Risk assessment: The company should conduct a comprehensive assessment of the security and human rights risks associated with its operations. This includes identifying risks and vulnerabilities in supply chains and operations in general.
- Implementing measures: Once risks have been identified, the company must implement measures to mitigate them. This may include developing clear and transparent policies and procedures, training staff and conducting regular audits and assessments.
- Stakeholder engagement: Another point that is often a bottleneck and a source of resentment is to involve stakeholders, i.e. to open spaces for dialogue and participation with employees, local communities and other relevant interest groups to ensure that their perspectives and concerns are taken into account in the operation of the business.
- Monitoring and evaluation: The company should conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of its security and human rights performance to identify areas for improvement and ensure that its policies and procedures are effective.
In our next post, we will discuss one of the most common gaps that, from our experience, we have encountered in the adoption of PLHIV.