CHALLENGE: MICROSOFT PARTNERED WITH ARTICLE ONE TO REDEFINE BUSINESS LEADERSHIP ON HUMAN RIGHTS FOR THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR AND BEYOND.
Our most important benefit from working with Article One is their independence and acumen, which improves the credibility of our human rights due diligence. Their network of experts and stakeholders helps us to better understand the needs of rights-holders, and that is critical if we want to be accountable.
— Michael Karimian, Human Rights Manager
Microsoft was one of the first companies to endorse the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In the five years since the endorsement, Microsoft published a Human Rights Statement, conducted multiple human rights impact assessments, and implemented a human rights training program. To build on this solid foundation, Article One worked with Microsoft to develop a leadership platform for human rights anchored by a new 2020 Vision.
Through a gap analysis of Microsoft’s current approach and interviews and a workshop with key Microsoft leaders, Article One assessed the strengths and challenges of Microsoft’s current human rights program. This allowed us to determine concrete opportunities for growth and leadership.
Next, we sought to understand external stakeholder expectations regarding corporate respect for human rights – in the technology sector and beyond. Through interviews with leaders around the globe, an expert roundtable in London, and our own analysis, Article One outlined what corporate leadership entailed and developed a human rights leadership platform that reflects Microsoft’s specific operating context and its mission to enable all people to realize their full potential.
Article One’s engagement with Microsoft resulted in a 2020 Vision for the company on human rights. The four pillar approach, supported by a five-year strategy, supports Microsoft’s commitment to advance technology in ways that respect and promote human rights. In doing so, Microsoft is better able to mitigate business and human rights risk and build on the recognition that Microsoft ‘runs on trust.’