Why Community Matters

Respect for human rights is one of the core values of NZEE, that respect goes beyond the immediate workplace, it extends out into the communities in which we live. We continue to explore the content of our NZEE Human Rights policy and look at why an expanded obligation to respect people’s rights is something we need to care about.

Each of us is a member of a community where we belong. Feeling that we have our own place of refuge within the community; feeling that ‘it’s ok to be here’, and having a sense of belonging – these are basic human desires. In fact, we each belong to multiple communities. We belong to our households, our schools, our workplaces, and the local societies and the countries in which we live.

As a good neighbor you should be conscious of how your actions or inaction can adversely affect the rights of your neighbor. As an employer, you most often employ from your community, how you are perceived by that community can go a long way towards how you are spoken of, which can impact how easy (or not) it is for you to attract the right people to work for you.

Respect also includes respecting your workers’ rights regarding their own communities, traditions, and religion. Being alert to wider community issues can give you a heads-up, before things manifest in your employees’ attitudes towards you or each other.

Most importantly by engaging with and supporting your community’s activities and by listening to what they are saying, you will learn how your business is impacting their rights - for good or bad. It enables you to move quickly to rectify any negative impacts and be viewed as an employer who listens, has empathy, and acts to stop harm from happening and fixing it if it has occurred.

A key indicator of success as an ethical employer means recognizing that your community is a part of your environment and is therefore part of the consultation and dialogue you need to have, to secure ongoing sustainability of your business. Your social license to operate rests within that community.


Tūhana Business and Human Rights is NZEE’s Human Rights Foundation Partner, to help members implement the UNGP framework in their operations and help identify and prioritize the risks they pose to people through their own business operations and supply chain and develop responses that look to prevent, mitigate, or remedy human rights issues.