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Human rights: What are they and why are they relevant to business? (140 or less)

August 12, 2013

I was recently issued a challenge: Explain what human rights are and why they are relevant to businesses in 150 words or less. In the spirit of social media, I decided to shrink that to the 140 threshold to echo the 140 characters or less of text messages / Tweets.

Here’s what I came up with. I liked this exercise, so I am going to make it into a series. Stay tuned!

Human rights refer to the shared dignity that all human beings inherently posses at birth. As President Roosevelt outlined, each of us have the freedoms of speech, religion, from want, and from fear.

These last two freedoms are particularly relevant in the governmental context Roosevelt referred to, but also in business. No longer can businesses ignore what occurs in the depths of their supply chains. Now more than ever, businesses are expected to use their influence to ensure that their business operations do not employ child, sweatshop, or forced prison labor, as a few examples. Companies that aren’t mindful of these impacts run the risk of tarnishing their brand, reputation, and violating laws.

However, leaders that “get it” see it differently. They promote human rights to manage costs, improve quality, decrease systemic risks, and lead to a more stable future.


Word count: 140. Boom.


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