Statement in Support of UN Guiding Principles and
Sustainable Development Goals

The historic adoption of the UN Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) this year put people at the centre of sustainable development and
issued a global call to action to build a more just, more equitable and more
sustainable future for all.

The SDGs acknowledge the critical role business can play in
driving economic growth and development, and call on business to apply
creativity and innovation to help solve global sustainable development
challenges. Private sector financing, economic activities and innovation can be
major drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth and poverty
alleviation. Core to the SDGs’ vision is better protection of, and respect for,
human rights and basic freedoms in the economic sphere. However, governance
gaps within and between countries at times allow investment and commerce to
contribute enormously to economic growth while also having unintended impacts
on the rights of the vulnerable. Related, while responsible businesses can be a
force for good, business activities that do not respect human rights undermine
sustainable development.

This makes the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Rights a powerful and critical companion to the SDGs. Indeed, the UN General
Assembly resolution that adopted the SDGs (A/RES/70/1) explicitly references
the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the labour standards of
the International Labour Organization. Since their unanimous endorsement by the
UN Human Rights Council in 2011, the Guiding Principles have become a global
reference point for the respective roles, duties and responsibilities of States
and businesses with regard to business-related human rights impacts.

We, the undersigned organizations, reaffirm our commitment
to the UN Guiding Principles and to continuing to promote their implementation
among our business networks (including at the national level) and the global
business community. We urge companies everywhere to scale up their efforts to
respect universally accepted human rights throughout their operations, value
chains and business relationships. Meeting the corporate responsibility to
respect human rights is a key contribution and vehicle through which business
can help achieve the broader vision of peaceful and inclusive societies
embraced by the SDGs.