Human Rights and MHRDD: we heard your questions, here are the answers

Human Rights and MHRDD: we heard your questions, here are the answers

With the Human Rights landscape in Europe continually evolving, it’s important for us as recruiters to be fully up to date with the latest changes, and to hear directly from the thought leaders and stakeholders to understand what key issues they are facing. Therefore, we thoroughly enjoy attending round table discussions and conferences, which give us some valuable insights into the current hot topics around human rights and supply chain due diligence.

The two most recent events we attended were the Supply Chain Due Diligence conference for business leaders at Linklaters and the BIICL Business and Human Rights Conference.

The overwhelming theme of both these conferences was how many questions business leaders and CSR and governance specialists had around how to best deal with the wave of incoming legislation.  

Naturally, every business has a different supply chain, a different level of risk and different needs. However, there common trends emerging that could help you, if you’re questioning how you should go about introducing a robust human rights function into your organisation.


What are businesses hiring for?

Most businesses are busy recruiting for either a Head of Human Rights, a Human Rights Officer or ESG/Compliance Leads.


Where are businesses housing functions?

Around one third of businesses will position their human rights leader within their compliance function. Around a quarter will sit within ESG & Sustainability. Around 15% will be part of the legal team and around one in ten human rights officers will be part of either a supply chain or procurement function.


What your hiring strategy says to candidates:

The position of the human rights leader within the business needs to be carefully considered.

  • Compliance & Legal – could potentially be seen as a ‘tick box’ exercise. However, this is a team which typically has well established lines of influence internally.
  • ESG & Sustainability – comes across more ambitious organisationally, but be seen as non-essential by stakeholders initially. Lines of communication are sometimes less developed than in other, more established functions
  • Procurement and Supply Chain – an excellent strategic position for getting to the main focus of the legislation – but may not necessarily permeate through the organisation consistently.
  • Stand-alone function – this sends a clear message about important the human rights issue is, but there is a risk of operating in isolation.  That said, with good stakeholders, it could be effective as there is likely to be a direct reporting line to the Board.


Hiring internally vs externally

We’ve seen a major shift over the past 12 months from appointing human rights officers internally to looking to bring in external talent. Around 70% of candidates appointed to Human Rights roles are now being hired externally and the majority of these will have had previous human rights exposure. As a relatively new role, the talent pool is small, but a good recruiter will know where to look, to find the best candidates.


Our supply chain doesn’t go outside of the EU – should I still appoint someone to look at Human Rights? 

YES. Absolutely, you should be appointing a Human Rights officer. Whilst it’s true that human rights violations occur more frequently in countries outside the EU – that doesn’t exclude your supply chain from violation inside.


Apart from being good practice, a number of Leonid clients are promoting and selling effectively on their high standard of human rights – many of whom have changed practices despite having solely EU supply chain.


To find out more about mandatory supply chain due diligence and the recruitment market, we have produced an exclusive guide featuring never-before-seen data around salaries, candidate insights and much more. You can download a copy here: Human Rights Due Diligence and Recruitment.


For an informal chat about the human rights recruitment market, feel free to reach out Adam Bond anytime –