Ethical investors want to know how corporations treat people, specifically their workers. They depend on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights serve for the definition of human rights. In essence, the declaration states all people should be treated with dignity and enjoy the following freedoms and rights, including freedom of speech, right to basic living standards sufficient to ensure health and well-being, and right to work and choose an employer.

The Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights, the United Nations Global Compact Office, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights outline the ways for companies to attain human rights objectives and meet the firm’s financial objectives. Entitled "A Guide for Integrating Human Rights into Business Management," the publication outlines several business benefits from supporting human rights, such as improved shareholder relations, reduced risk of consumer protests, and strengthened stakeholder confidence.

The same report states a corporation can play a vital role in human rights violations, directly or indirectly. For example, if the company is aware their supplier breaches human rights, that entity is somewhat an instrument to such abuses if it cultivates, tolerates, or ignores that supplier’s behavior. There are four ways a firm can indirectly partake in violating human rights:

  • Providing a government with products, services, or details to be used in an abusive manner
  • Knowing a government it is collaborating with is likely to commit human rights violations to close an agreement
  • Benefiting from violations done by other entities
  • Being aware of pressing abuses, but opting to stay silent

A company can evaluate their strong and weak points about human rights. Before anything else, here are some common aspects a corporation should look at when mulling into their way of addressing human rights:

Health and Safety in Working Conditions. This is one of ethical investors’ major concerns when looking for potential companies to invest in since an employee’s working conditions will have a huge impact on the quality of his or her life, health, and longevity. A good employer allows workers to have enough break time and access bathroom, as well as leave the job site.

Wages and Benefits. Ethical investors have different views on how companies should compensate their employees, but they all agree that entities should pay enough to live comfortably in the same communities where they work. Aside from salaries, they also want to find out a wide range of benefits offered by employees. The most basic ones include health insurance, paid vacation, paid sick leave, and retirement benefits.

Health and Safety for the Community. Believe it or not, but these two will be a greater issue for some businesses that others. For instance, manufacturers that deliver goods in the grocery store may need to address concerns about using and disposing chemicals.