The Business Network on Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders (Business Network) is a group of companies committed to identifying ways that businesses and society can benefit from increased support from the private sector for the protection of civic freedoms and human rights defenders (HRDs).
The vision of the Business Network is that business and civil society thrive, working together in partnership with governments to create positive and enabling operating environments characterised by good governance, respect for the rule of law and human rights, equality and diversity.
The mission of the Business Network is to respond and oppose the increasing legal restrictions on and hostility towards human rights defenders; the deterioration of civic freedoms and the closing of civic space in many parts of the globe.
Initiated in 2016, this group is coordinated by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), and The B Team, Approximately 40 major multinationals currently participate in the Business Network. The Business Network works across sectors, which include businesses, civil society (NGOs, community representatives, union leaders and other front line human rights defenders), investors, international institutions and academia.
A safe space for dialogue and exchange
Business and human rights defenders meet each other to enhance companies’ understanding of and respect for civic space and civic freedoms and for discussion of potential actions by companies in response to human rights challenges.
Identifying best practices in response to threats to civic freedoms and HRDs
Champion innovative approaches to responsible business conduct, catalysing more consistent, principled and effective action by companies in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
A forum for rapid and targeted information sharing on threats to the "Shared Civic Space" globally
Stable and enabling business environments depend on the rule of law and open, inclusive and tolerant societies. Any threat to civic freedoms and human rights is also a business risk.
There are no ‘formal’ requirements or monetary obligations imposed on members of the Business Network. Instead, membership represents a commitment to participate and support the Vision and Mission of the Business Network in good faith and decidedly consider the invitations to take action.