A tool for improving the management of social and human rights risks at project sites: The Human Rights Sphere

van der Ploeg, L. & Vanclay, F., 20-Jan-2017, In : Journal of Cleaner Production. 142, 4, p. 4072-4084 13 p.

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This paper identifies and addresses the challenges of implementing the corporate responsibility to respect human rights in practice at project sites. To support on-ground operational staff, we offer the Human Rights Sphere (HRS), a practical tool we developed from empirical research in three large-scale projects and from an analytical literature review. The tool is consistent with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). The HRS comprises seven steps through which the understanding and addressing of the social and human rights impacts of projects and corporate human rights due diligence procedures can be enhanced. The HRS describes the various groups of rights -holders to be considered, the social and environmental impacts they may experience, and how these impacts can be linked to actual or potential human rights impacts. The HRS shows how corporate mitigation and compensation practices have to be improved to prevent human rights harm to workers and communities. The HRS presents a comprehensive picture of the human rights side of projects and is presented as a practical tool that can be utilized by operational staff at all project phases. By utilising the HRS, multinational corporations will be better equipped to address the adverse human rights impacts of large projects. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4072-4084
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20-Jan-2017


  • Social impacts, Social risks, Social impact assessment, Human rights based approach, Social licence to operate, Corporate social responsibility, IMPACT ASSESSMENT, COMMUNITY-DEVELOPMENT, BUSINESS, RESPONSIBILITY, PEOPLES, WATER

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