The Human Rights Matrix has been developed by
The Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR), a program that ran from 2003 -2009 to help lead and develop the corporate response to Human Rights. It was a business-led program with 14 corporate members with the principal purpose to find "practical ways of applying the aspirations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights within a business context and to inspire other businesses to do likewise”.

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The development, deployment and management of the Matrix is now being led by a new business-led initiative inspired by BLIHR, the
Global Business Initiative on Human Rights.


The first version of the Matrix was released in 2003. It was developed to allow a company to map all of its human rights-related activities in one table. It proved to be a very popular mapping tool, and allowed users to create a baseline from which to develop their human rights strategies and action plans. We are releasing this new version after 18 months of work, to overcome the following barriers:

  • There are no simply articulated international human rights standards for business (we relied on the UN draft Norms for the first version).
  • Human rights language can be very confronting to a business engaging in the area for the first time.
  • The Excel tool was not very user-friendly. It took a lot of time to complete and did not allow for comparison over time, or between matrices.


Improvements and developments to the Matrix will be based on feedback, direction and support of companies making use of the tool. All users will receive a development plan for their information and also be invited to join conference calls to discuss feedback received and proposed plans. Please note, future improvements depend on the availability of resources.


The following BLIHR Secretariat and Advisors assisted in the development of the Matrix:

Christine Bader Advisor to the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights
Samantha Hoskins Communications, BLIHR
Scott Jerbi
Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative
Amy Lehr Foley Hoag
Prof. Alan Miller Scottish Human Rights Commission
John Morrison, Programme Director, BLIHR
Ron Nielsen Dalhousie University
Chip Pitts Stanford University
Sune Skadgaard Thorsen Global CSR
Francoise Torchiana Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative
Salil Tripathi Institute for Human Rights and Business
John Sherman, Havard Kennedy School (formerly National Grid)

The developers would also like to express thanks to those who have developed key principles that have informed some of the content used in this tool. In particular we acknowledge the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct and the OECD Guidelines for Multi-national enterprises.