Human Rights do not hurt businesses


Human rights are fundamental rights and freedom that safeguards every one of us. They are a set of rules universally agreed-upon moral guidelines that originated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights adopted by the international community in 1948. They are founded on respect, equality, justice, and dignity.  Businesses have a huge impact on our lifestyle and us enjoying the human rights. Affecting us directly or indirectly such as whether we are working for them as employees, buying their products as customers, or simply sharing our cities and towns with them. Working conditions, fair pay, social security, freedom of association, collective bargaining, nondiscrimination, forced labor, and child labor are just a few of the human rights examples that businesses are required to uphold. Businesses for example that are online presence must ensure they respect people’s right to privacy and maintain data privacy laws.

Respecting human rights is favorable for the business financially and beyond. Such as respecting workers’ employment rights increases their productivity and overall profitability of the company, which in turn leads to faster economic growth. The Center for Business Research (CBR) at the University of Cambridge is defying conventional wisdom and, through a series of recent quantitative research projects, has explored how improved workers’ rights lead to increased productivity and employment resulting in equality in society. These datasets are now online for others to access and use.

Recent research on Better Work Impact Assessment Vietnam shows garment factories becoming more profitable when working conditions have improved. The increase in profitability is due to the increase in productivity from workers due to better working conditions. The higher financial benefit due to their increased productivity is than shared with the employees in form of higher wages. The research proves workers in better conditions and environment reached their productions target nearly forty minutes early compared to those workers in worst environment with the same skill level. Also only 1 % increase in their salaries resulted in 0.6% increase in profit in relative to their cost. Factories also experience a 5.9% increase in profit when the workers become aware that their working conditions are improving. This research also proves that one could think that if the working conditions are better, the workers could be offered fewer wages hence the business making the higher profit but the opposite was proved. That the factories in Vietnam which had better working conditions offered higher wages and had constant productivity. Hence workers and the business both reaped the benefit the business from the increase in profit due to increase in productivity and the workers from the increase in wages. In other words, better worker rights lead to larger overall output that gets more evenly distributed.

Productivity leading to increase in profit is not the only benefit for the business resulting in respecting human rights but there are many more both commercial and social benefits . Such as improved reputation and brand image of the business, improved stake holders relation, more stable employment opportunities, increased trust with partners and community. Obeying the law by following the set guidelines, means less risk of violence, protests, conflict, boycott, violent sabotage and also mitigate global risks.  It also results in better relation with the suppliers, contractors. Also results in low associated costs due to less security premiums required and less loss of material. In addition practicing and adopting such rights will also result in strengthening trust from shareholders and gaining competitive advantage over other businesses and leading as an example for both companies locally and internationally to be responsible for their practices and still benefit both the business and the society.