Human Rights Due Diligence

In recent years, a rich dialogue has emerged around the role that businesses play in shaping our environment, our well-being, and our security. Consumers, shareholders and investors are demanding that enterprises do more to minimize harms and maximize social dividends not only in times of economic expansion, but also as a response to present and future crisis.

Identifying and prioritizing adverse human rights is the first step to understanding HRDD.

At the present stage the Human Rights Self-Assessment tool is designed to give a deeper understanding of how to identify and prioritize human rights risks as a part of UNDP’s Human Rights Due Diligence training. The tool is not intended to serve as a comprehensive human rights due diligence tool as outlined under the UNGPs. Instead, it is an exercise to help companies understand a key step in conducting human rights due diligence.

How to use this tool

This Human Rights Self-Assessment training tool helps you create a heatmap of human rights risks that shows you which risks should be addressed first in your operations and value chain.

Using the tool, you will define the “Severity” and “Likelihood” of some human rights risk relevant to your industry to generate a heatmap that demonstrates risk prioritization.

Scale, scope and irremediability


The severity of a risk will be calculated from the average of the values you assign to the scale, scope and irremediability of each risk in the tool.

Scale involves the gravity or seriousness of the impact

Scope defines the number of people impacted

Irremediability is the limit in the ability to restore those affected back to a situation at least the same as, or equivalent to, their situation before the adverse impact.


You will then define the likelihood value of each risk weighing the probability that the risk could lead to an adverse impact

After calculating for a severity score and inputting a likelihood score, you will have two plot points for purposes of a heatmap.

Key points

Under international human rights law, there is no hierarchy of human rights. No human right is recognized as more important than another. However, one can prioritize one over another in the context of business operations owing to the severity of the harm involved and the constraints of finite time and material resources.

Companies should address the most severe human rights abuses first. However, the presence of high priority, severe human rights impacts does not mean that low severity impacts should remain unaddressed. Some low priority risks will be relatively easy to address, or require few additional resources, and there is no reason why companies should not proceed to deal with them.

Severity of the impact of operations on human rights is the most important factor in determining the size and complexity of the due diligence process employed by the company.

Want to know more about us

If you want to know more about UNDP’s Human Rights Due Diligence training or other Business and Human Rights-related tools and activities UNDP offers, please contact us.