Private Sector

Our private sector policy work asks companies to take action to ensure that their core business operations support and do not undermine sustainable development. We also call on governments to adopt and enforce balanced laws so that businesses are accountable to citizens.

Key areas of our private sector work include:

  • Looking at the human rights responsibilities of businesses as part of the ongoing UN process
  • Supporting workers' rights in global supply chains to reduce discrimination and allow them to negotiate better wages.
  • Campaigning for transparency and accountability in extractive industry contracts and payments to governments.
  • Examining the impact of mining in developing countries where our partner organisations work.

Policy and research documents on the private sector

Found 16 results

  • Ensuring the Primacy of Human Rights in Trade and Investment Policies: Model clauses for a UN Treaty on transnational corporations, other businesse... Ensuring the Primacy of Human Rights in Trade and Investment Policies: Model clauses for a UN Treaty on transnational corporations, other businesse... (361kb, pdf)
    Prof. Dr. Markus Krajewski

    At a time of growing controversy over who benefits from global trade deals, the UN is also developing the draft text of a new internationally binding instrument on business and human rights.  CIDSE has commissioned a leading German academic to look at how the treaty on business and human rights could relate to trade and investment deals.  This study includes practical suggestions for the wording of a future business and human rights treaty to ensure that respect for human rights is a priority for states and businesses.  

  • Leader or laggard? Is the UK meeting its commitments on business and human rights? Leader or laggard? Is the UK meeting its commitments on business and human rights? (1mb, pdf)
    Anne Lindsay, Lead Analyst - Private Sector, CAFOD

    The UK has provided leadership on business and human rights issues, including in the agreement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and measures on modern slavery. However, CAFOD has questioned whether the government is doing enough to protect the world’s poorest people from harm caused by British businesses operating overseas, including providing access to justice to affected communities and participating in discussions on a business and human rights treaty. In this report, CAFOD calls for a range of actions from the government, including providing legal remedies for communities and obligations for companies, undertaking impact assessments which are available to the public, and developing a cross-departmental strategy on business and human rights.

  • Submission to the International Development Committee’s inquiry on tackling corruption overseas Submission to the International Development Committee’s inquiry on tackling corruption overseas (564kb, pdf)

    In CAFOD’s experience, corruption has devastating consequences when it excludes vulnerable citizens and those living in poverty from access to essential goods, services and infrastructure. Preventing illicit capital flight and returning stolen assets helps support developing countries to mobilise their domestic resources and encourage investment for sustainable development. CAFOD has welcomed UK government action to tackle corruption to date. In this submission we suggest several practical next steps. In particular, we think government should apply open contracting principles of transparency, accountability and participation to all actors that are contracted to deliver climate and development finance.

  • Beyond Compliance: Effective Reporting Under the Modern Slavery Act Beyond Compliance: Effective Reporting Under the Modern Slavery Act (5mb, pdf)

    The Modern Slavery Act was passed in 2015.  Working with together NGOs, trade unions and companies, CAFOD successfully lobbied for the Act to require businesses to report on actions that they are taking to identify and address the risk of slavery and forced labour in their own operations and supply chains.   We have put together this guidance document with other organisations from the CORE Coalition to help companies considering how they can report effectively on this important issue.

  • Investing in our Future? Investing in our Future? (597kb, pdf)

    The UK’s climate public-private partnership (CP3) channels foreign aid money via two commercially run private equity funds. It aims to deliver low carbon development and poverty reduction in developing countries. CAFOD is supportive of these ambitious aims and since this is an innovative field, we decided to analyse the available information about how the Government has approached this challenge. This report makes recommendations to the Government, asking DFID and DECC to be clear about what checks are in place to ensure CP3 investments made with taxpayers’ money will ‘do no harm’ and deliver poverty reduction and low carbon growth in developing countries. 

  • Response to the consultation on the PSC register: Understanding the new requirements, recording control on the PSC register and protecting people a... Response to the consultation on the PSC register: Understanding the new requirements, recording control on the PSC register and protecting people a... (539kb, pdf)

    Opacity of business structures is a common way of hiding corrupt activity, which in turn increases the cost of doing business and has disproportionately negative impacts on the lives and livelihoods of those living in poverty. Therefore CAFOD support the creation of public registers of who controls and benefits from companies. In order for the UK meet the international standard of ensuring that this information is “adequate, accurate and timely”, we argue the register needs to contain sufficient information to identify how control is exercised over the company. In this response to the Business Department’s (BIS) consultation, we outline how we believe the system should work.

  • Business and Human Rights Business and Human Rights (445kb, pdf)

    CAFOD has been working as part of the CIDSE group of Catholic development agencies to examine the impact that businesses have on human rights and identify steps that states and companies can take to prevent abuses.

    In November 2011 David Cameron committed to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. CAFOD’s briefing includes key recommendations for the forthcoming UK strategy to deliver on this commitment.

  • UN Framework & Guiding Principles driving change March 2013 UN Framework & Guiding Principles driving change March 2013 (774kb, pdf)

    The key test of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights is will they change the practices of companies and states so that there are fewer corporate abuses of human rights? To communities in Colombia, the Philippines and Peru the discussions at the UN in Geneva can seem very remote.  This introductory guide aims to help local organisations to evaluate whether the state is protecting and businesses are respecting their rights in line with the UN Framework.  

  • Public-Private Partnerships Public-Private Partnerships (282kb, pdf)

    ...Are we asking the right questions? UK aid uses public-private partnerships (PPPs) as one way of delivering its poverty reduction aims in developing and transition countries. These partnerships allow the private sector actor to make a profit, and in some cases the donor government also intends to make a profit from this method of delivering aid.
    This paper looks at some of the arguments for and against the use of PPPs in international development.

  • Channeling climate finance via private sector actors Channeling climate finance via private sector actors (279kb, pdf)

    This paper assesses what the evidence to date shows on the risks and benefits of using private sector instruments to channel climate finance, in the context of the current debate around the role of the private sector in the Green Climate Fund and wider discussions among donors.

  • CSO recommendations in reaction to new G20 ACAP CSO recommendations in reaction to new G20 ACAP (55kb, pdf)

    Civil society recommendations in reaction to new G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2013 - 2014

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