UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework

The UNGP Reporting Framework is a short series of smart questions to which any company should have answers, both to know whether it is doing business with respect for human rights, and to show others the progress it is making.

The Reporting Framework is supported by two kinds of guidance: implementation guidance for companies that are reporting, and assurance guidance for internal auditors and external assurance providers.

How can users access the Reporting Framework and its guidance documents?


To view the Reporting Framework (the “smart questions”) and its implementation guidance, users have two options:

  • Use the left sidebar navigation on this page to access the interactive version of the Reporting Framework with implementation guidance and assurance indicators; or
  • Click here to view the PDF download options, including translations, for the Reporting Framework, or the Reporting Framework with implementation guidance.

To view the UNGP Assurance Guidance:

  • Visit our dedicated page on assurance guidance to access the narrative guidance, aide memoires for internal auditors and external assurance practitioners, and PDF and Excel versions of the assurance indicators (with the Excel version containing additional notes for the practitioner);
  • The assurance indicators (one element of the guidance) are integrated into the online interactive version, accessible via the left sidebar navigation on this page.


UNGP Reporting Framework and guidances

“This Reporting Framework puts the corporate responsibility to respect human rights into everyday language: a set of smart, straightforward questions to which any company needs to have answers – inside and outside its own walls.”
– Professor John Ruggie, Former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights

Structure of the UNGP Reporting Framework

The Reporting Framework is comprised of 31 ‘smart’ questions that enable companies to report meaningfully on their human rights performance, regardless of size or how far they have progressed in implementing their responsibility to respect human rights.

The Reporting Framework is divided into three parts:

Part A has two overarching questions, each with one or more supporting questions, which focus on the company’s commitment to and governance of human rights risk management.

Part B provides a filter point for the reporting company to narrow the range of human rights issues on which it will focus the remainder of its reporting under Part C. The focus is on those human rights issues that are salient within its activities and business relationships.

Part C has six overarching questions, each with one or more supporting questions, which focus on the effective management of each of the salient human rights issues on which the company is reporting.

The overarching questions in Parts A and C focus on general, relevant information about the company’s efforts to meet its responsibility to respect human rights. They are designed to enable responses from any company, including small companies and those at a relatively early stage in the process.

Responding to the eight overarching questions, in addition to the information requirements under Part B, is the basic threshold for using the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework.

The UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework


What topics are addressed in the implementation guidance?

The implementation guidance to this Reporting Framework is designed to help companies use the Framework. Using the navigation bar on the left, website users start with an overarching question from the Reporting Framework, which is grouped with its supporting questions on its dedicated page. Users can then choose to expand or collapse any part of any question by clicking on the arrows to the right of each field of each question.

For each overarching and supporting question, the implementation guidance sets out:

  • The objective: A statement of the question’s intent, to help the user understand what it seeks to achieve;
  • Supporting guidance: Additional guidance about how to go about answering the question;
  • Relevant information: Some examples of information that it could be particularly relevant to include in response to the question;
  • The Guiding Principles: Citations from relevant parts of the Guiding Principles;
  • Reference points in other initiatives: Cross-references to relevant provisions from numerous other initiatives and reporting schemes. They should not be seen as a substitute for the implementation guidance, which is the primary source for answering questions in this Framework. *In addition to the per-question cross-references provided in the implementation guidance, our cross-reference tool allows users to select those initiatives that are relevant for their reporting, and obtain a table showing the relevant cross-references, either question by question or for multiple questions grouped together.
  • Assurance indicators for internal auditors and external assurance providers. These indicators will also be helpful to people within companies who are designing or revising human rights policies and processes.

Should companies answer the questions in order?

There is no need to do so.

In order to provide a coherent narrative, a reporting company will usually need to structure the information it provides differently from the sequence in which the questions appear in the Framework. This may be true whether the company is integrating responses within a broader annual, sustainability or integrated report, or producing a stand-alone human rights report.

Companies can use the index of answers template to indicate to readers of reports where responses to specific questions from the UNGP Reporting Framework can be found.

How do I apply the Reporting Framework when my company has different levels, like subsidiaries?

Large companies can apply the Reporting Framework at different levels of the corporate entity, but should ensure that their responses to the questions in Part A of the Framework reflect the role of the highest-level authority with governance responsibilities. For example, multinational companies might ask subsidiaries or business units to use the Reporting Framework to prepare their own reports, with the corporate group providing responses in relation to Part A for the group as a whole.

Where subsidiaries or business units are selected to prepare their own reports using this Framework, companies should base this selection on the geographies or areas of the business where salient human rights issues are particularly apparent, or where severe impacts occurred within the reporting period, or they should clearly explain any alternative basis for selection.

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Analysis and database of current company reporting on human rights

The UNGP Reporting Framework and its guidances help companies and assurance practitioners improve their management and performance on human rights. But what is the current state of companies’ reporting on human rights? What are companies telling us they are doing to respect human rights across their operations and value chains?

In our Database & Analysis section of this website, we offer deeply researched insights and analysis into the maturity of the world’s largest companies’ current reporting — and related performance — on human rights. Those insights and analysis are backed up by a public, independent database that makes it possible for anybody to see, in a clear format, what some of the world’s largest companies say about human rights, mapped by our team of experts to the expectations set by the global standard of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.