Anita Ramasastry, Advisors or Enablers? Bringing Professional Service Providers into the Guiding Principles Fold, 6 Bus. & Hum. Rts. J. 1 (2021), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/732
Advisors or Enablers? Bringing Professional Service Providers into the Guiding Principles Fold
consultants, lawyers, UNGPs, architects, human rights
After a decade, different businesses now adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Some key commercial entities, however, remain largely outside of the UNGPs universe, including (PSPs) who are retained by businesses to provide advice. These advisors include lawyers, management consultants, and architects and others. Some may have specialized units that provide advice on the UNGPs when retained solely for that purpose. But when asked to provide general commercial legal advice, to design a building, or restructure a business, such advisors do not typically appear to apply the UNGPs, to identify negative human rights impacts and tailor their advice in a way that prevents or mitigates such impacts. This article explores the connection between the advice provided by PSPs and negative human rights impacts. It underscores the critical need for these advisors to align their business processes and advisory services with the UNGPs to avoid being enablers of human rights abuses.