On international human rights day, December 10th 2020, our Top 10 Business & Human Rights Issues for 2021 reflects a tumultuous year of pandemic-driven impacts on nearly every facet of life – from health to the economy, from the workplace to global trade. IHRB’s annual forecast for the critical business and human rights issues that need urgent attention in 2021 is as stark as it has ever been.

Our 2021 Top 10 list reflects on the ongoing and unprecedented implications of COVID-19 across five key areas: redesigning supply chains, preventing the misuse of COVID-related technology, the crisis of crew change at sea, mass-scale theft of migrant workers’ wages, and uncertainties over the future of the modern workplace.

It also highlights five critical issues beyond the immediate effects of COVID-19 where the business and human rights agenda will demand attention in 2021. They collectively represent deep-seated challenges: the resurgence of state-imposed forced labour, growing climate-driven migration, race-based discrimination at all levels, increasing divides over business standards in key governance areas, and the need for financing just transitions toward a net-zero world.