Human rights due diligence (HRDD) of products and services—also known as “downstream HRDD” or “end use HRDD”—has been a requirement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) since their endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011. However, its relevance has skyrocketed in the past few years due to the rise of technology products like social media and artificial intelligence.
As the field of supply chain due diligence has matured, the downstream value chain is increasingly becoming a focal point for more traditional sectors like pharmaceuticals and heavy industry. Now more than ever, we can see and feel the human rights impacts of business products and services, which in turn has elevated the need for businesses to take a serious look at how their products and services are designed and developed, who they are sold to, how they are used, and how they may be misused.
What Is Downstream Human Rights Due Diligence?
Downstream human rights due diligence is the assessment and prioritization of human rights impacts that occur as a result of company actions or omissions during the design, development, promotion, deployment, sale, licensing, or use of products or services. It differs from other types of business human rights due diligence because it focuses entirely on the downstream value chain, rather than the upstream supply chain or direct business operations.