Ukrainian Companies Learn to Incorporate Human Rights Values into their Activities

UNDP Ukraine, supported by the Government of Japan, has started a series of workshops and consultations on business and human rights for Ukrainian entrepreneurs.

January 26, 2023
Photo: Oleh Matsko / UNDP in Ukraine

Kyiv, 26 January 2022 — The Academy on Business and Human Rights has been launched, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and supported by the Government of Japan. The Academy provides free training sessions and guidance on human rights due diligence for companies operating in Ukraine and abroad.

During the week, thirty-five Academy trainees will study international business standards and human rights due diligence in the context of the war, and will learn how to integrate human rights due diligence procedures into their business activities.

In welcoming the Academy trainees, Mr Naoto Kanatsu, the Second Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine, emphasized the importance of the event. “For Ukraine, which aspires to join the EU and the OECD, the creation and development of businesses that are competitive in the international market is essential for its post-war reconstruction and development. A prerequisite for being competitive in the international market is to conduct Human Rights Due Diligence in business. The Academy participants, are the very pioneers who will be responsible for the progressive initiatives necessary for Ukraine's future reconstruction and development. I am confident that this Academy will be of great help to you in your professional activities,” said Mr. Naoto Kanatsu.

At the opening of the Academy, Svitlana Kolyshko, Human Rights for Ukraine Project Coordinator at UNDP, stressed that respect for human rights by businesses had never been of higher priority, as a foundation must be laid for recovery and development of a strong and democratic Ukraine. “Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights will facilitate just and more sustainable recovery of business and the economy during the war and the post-war recovery period,” she highlighted.

The training programme is based on the findings of the contextual assessment of the human rights risks faced by the companies in Ukraine during the war, and comprises three online sessions. Those training sessions will help businesses develop a better understanding of and apply business and human rights standards in their activities and supply chains. In particular, they will find out about:

  • Principal standards for business and human rights and responsible business conduct: the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, applicable EU standards, and the Recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights in Responsible Supply Chains, Japan’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights
  • Human rights due diligence: namely, how to determine and assess impact on human rights, how to integrate human rights into operations, track and communicate about introduced measures
  • Action strategies during the war or conflict, including the procedure for heightened Human Rights Due Diligence (hHRDD); ‘responsible exit’ and other ways of behaving in crises.

General information:

UNDP Ukraine promotes human rights norms and values in the country, paying particular attention to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In 2021, under the Human Rights for Ukraine Project, UNDP launched the pilot “Business and Human Rights in Ukraine – Accelerating Sustainable and Equitable Development through Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” initiative, to identify baselines, gaps and opportunities and fully understand the current situations of rights holders and duty bearers.

In 2022, UNDP launched a new global project “Human Rights Due Diligence in Global Supply Chains: Leveraging the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for a Just Recovery” funded by the Government of Japan.