Skip main navigation

Hurry, only 9 days left to get one year of Unlimited learning for £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

IHL Resources for businesses

IHL Resources for businesses
Doing responsible business in armed conflict guide

Australian Red Cross and RMIT University have developed a suite of resources and training materials for businesses. You will have been introduced to some of these already, over the past few weeks, but below is a convenient list and summary of these resources for your records.

War, Law and Business: A Module on International Humanitarian Law for Future Business Leaders

An interactive, immersive experience on international humanitarian law for future business leaders.

Launched in late 2021, War, Law and Business introduces future business leaders to the relevant rules and principles of international humanitarian law. Throughout the module, students learn about IHL as an ethical decision-making and evaluation framework that helps one manage the unique risks associated with doing business in a conflict-affected area and, most importantly, to uphold protections for the lives and dignity of civilians and local communities. More than a traditional e-learning module, this interactive role-play exercise places students in the shoes of the CEO of a global mining company and asks them to make a series of decisions to navigate their way out of a precarious and fast-moving dilemma.

War, Law and Business was designed for students in business-related disciplines (e.g. corporate social responsibility, business leadership and ethical decision-making). It aims to teach business students the significance and relevance of IHL to the corporate world and is the first educational tool of its kind. However, the module is also suitable for law students and is relevant to those already in industry, including early career professionals but also business managers, lawyers and in-house counsel, security personnel and other professionals. The insights shared in this module will be useful in helping corporate actors deepen their knowledge and understanding of IHL, and its relevance to business operations in fragile states and conflict-affected regions.

Watch a teaser trailer video for the module.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Access War, Law and Business: A Module on International Humanitarian Law for Future Business Leaders

Seven Indicators of Corporate Best Practice in International Humanitarian Law

An implementation framework for businesses wishing to integrate knowledge and respect for international humanitarian law into their policies and practices

Published in January 2021, ‘Seven Indicators of Corporate Best Practice in International Humanitarian Law’ is a best-practice framework. It aims to encourage businesses to integrate IHL into their existing human rights frameworks as a means of enhancing – not replacing – human rights due diligence processes, as called for by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. The ideal time to deepen understanding of IHL and embed it into relevant policies and processes is before conflict or violence breaks out. We recommend this framework to all companies whose business activities or supply chains run through, or in the future are anticipated to run through, conflict-affected areas.

The framework is divided into four umbrella categories: (A) policy, (B) capacity & capability, (C) operations and (D) transparency & accountability. Under each of these categories sit seven clear directives and accompanying ‘questions to consider’ and ‘examples of best practice’ that work together to create a formula for genuine implementation and operationalisation of IHL.

The framework can be:

  • applied to a range of industries and contexts;
  • tailored by individual businesses to suit their specific circumstances;
  • used to help businesses evaluate the compatibility of their policies and practices with the rules of international humanitarian law; and
  • aligned with and supplement existing corporate human rights and social responsibility frameworks.

Access the Seven Indicators of Corporate Best Practice in International Humanitarian Law

Doing Responsible Business in Armed Conflict: Risks, Rights and Responsibilities

An introductory, practical guide for businesses on international humanitarian law.

‘Doing Responsible Business in Armed Conflict: Risks, Rights and Responsibilities’ was published in 2020. In developing this resource, we wanted to create clear guidance that would not only introduce businesses to the principles and standards of international humanitarian law, but which would help businesses incorporate relevant aspects of the law into their policies and practices. Many existing corporate human rights policies, for example on risk management and security training, already provide useful frameworks within which to embed and implement these additional rules but, generally-speaking, fall short of adequately incorporating international humanitarian law into them.

The guide highlights the importance and relevance of international humanitarian law, as a legal and ethical framework; the specific violations of international humanitarian law that businesses ought to be especially aware of; the protections the law offers to people and property; and the differences between international humanitarian law and human rights law, which are often conflated in companies’ risk management / sustainability processes and in the broader business and human rights dialogue.

In doing so, this guide assists businesses in planning for and conducting operations in a way that respects all universally accepted standards of responsible and humane conduct in conflict-affected areas.

Don’t Forget the Geneva Conventions: Achieving Responsible Business Conduct in Conflict-Affected Areas Through Adherence to International Humanitarian Law

by Dr. Jonathan Kolieb, Australian Journal of Human Rights, 26:1, 142-164

Don’t Forget the Geneva Conventions: Achieving Responsible Business Conduct in Conflict-Affected Areas Through Adherence to International Humanitarian Law examines the question of how a business operating in a conflict-affected area can uphold human rights. It contends that a crucial yet often overlooked element is a business’s commitment to embedding the fundamental standards of international humanitarian law (IHL) (as distinct from international human rights law) into its policies and practices.

This article is from the free online

International Humanitarian Law for Business

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now