Microsoft Global Human Rights Statement
Technology is touching lives in new ways. The statement explains our commitment to respecting and promoting human rights, to ensure that technology plays a positive role across the globe.
Computing, digitally-powered innovation, and connectivity are some of the most influential forces at work today. They lie at the heart of Microsoft’s business activities, and we see them transforming the lives of people everywhere. Grounded in the principle proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “all persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, we are committed to developing technologies and services that enrich individual and shared experiences across the globe. The Microsoft Global Human Rights Statement describes our approach to advancing human dignity and respecting human rights.
Download the Microsoft Global Human Rights Statement in these available languages:
Our approach is based on the following principles:
Our commitment to ongoing human rights due diligence: Understanding potential human rights impacts associated with digital technologies presents unique challenges. Our global and on-going processes begin with a focus on identifying and assessing any actual, or potential, adverse human rights impacts that we may cause, contribute or be directly linked with, either through our own activities or as a result of our business relationships. Our processes follows the UNGPs and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. One of the ways we do this is by conducting human rights impact assessments (HRIAs), to identify and prioritize salient risks. We have conducted HRIAs at both the corporate and product levels, and for various countries and locations. Our HRIA work includes regular engagement and consultation with stakeholders in an effort to understand and address perspectives of vulnerable groups or populations.
When an assessment is complete, we integrate and act upon our findings and track our implementation throughout the company or product lifecycle. We communicate to stakeholders how positive and adverse impacts are identified, assessed and actioned through our ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility reporting, annual human rights reporting, biannual Digital Trust Reports on our Reports hub, and other channels. We seek to understand, and respond effectively to evolving risks, best practices and stakeholder needs.
Our commitment to remediation: Remedy is an integral part of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and we are committed to providing effective grievance mechanisms and access to remedy in situations where Microsoft may have caused or contributed to an adverse human rights impact. We commit to not obstructing grievance channels or remedies made accessible or provided by others, including States. We are committed to ongoing collaboration in remediation initiatives across our business activities, including with our ICT suppliers. We work to ensure that all rightsholders and their representatives are aware of their rights to these mechanisms. We translate remediation guidance into several languages to ensure accessibility for impacted parties. Microsoft prohibits any form of retaliation against anyone who raises a human rights-related complaint or question, or participates in subsequent investigations of any such complaints.
Anyone who seeks to raise a grievance with or seek remediation from Microsoft regarding our human rights performance may do so in the following confidential ways, in multiple languages:
- Submit an anonymous report through the Microsoft Integrity Website
- Send an email to the Microsoft Business Conduct Email Address
- Call the free Microsoft Integrity Hotline
We also offer dedicated product-specific channels for voicing specific concerns, including:
- Accessibility: The Disability Answer Desk and Enterprise Disability Answer Desk provide technical support for people and organizations who have questions about the accessibility of Microsoft products and services.
- Gaming: The Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement preserves and promotes a safe, secure and enjoyable experience for all Xbox Live Platform and Community members.
- Privacy: The Privacy Support Form provides opportunities to raise questions regarding Microsoft’s privacy practices and to request data subject rights such as the right to access and delete personal data.
- Devices’ Responsible Sourcing: The Workers’ Voice Hotline Program provides factory workers with a reliable and anonymous reporting channel managed by a neutral third-party service provider.
Our commitment to support good governance and the rule of law: Microsoft’s ability to respect human rights is enabled by good governance and rule of law around the world. Good governance and rule of law require transparent, responsible, accountable and participatory processes that are responsive to the needs and aspirations of individuals and communities. Good governance and rule of law are closely correlated with decent work, sustainable lives, peoples’ safety and their freedom from government infringement on their human rights. We advocate for public policies and laws that promote innovation while protecting human rights. We do so through regular multinational, regional and local multi-stakeholder engagements.
As a multinational company that champions the rule of law, we know that we do not stand above the law. We respect applicable national laws. But national law is only a floor. Where international human rights standards exceed national laws, we advocate for legal recognition of global norms and seek to align our business practices and operations with international standards.
Our commitment to engagement: We believe that responsible engagement with people and governments in countries with significant human rights challenges often holds the greatest promise for the advancement of rights; we can often more effectively meet our global human rights commitments through our presence in, rather than absence from, such countries.
We recognize that such operating environments call for heightened due diligence and adherence to clear principles. We are dedicated to understanding how these contexts may increase the risk of adverse human rights impacts, and how we can prevent or mitigate such impacts. Key factors in making this approach a success include the use of multi-stakeholder engagement and consultation, including with local stakeholder groups, and using our reputation, voice, and various business decisions to influence other primary actors.
Our commitment to vulnerable groups: Although human rights are universal, they are not yet enjoyed universally. For example, various forms of discrimination require that we pay special attention to vulnerable groups. Vulnerable groups include persons who are disproportionately susceptible to heightened adverse impacts, or those who have less practical access to remedy. We are committed to conducting business without discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status such as disability, age, marital and family status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, health status, place of residence, economic and social situation, or other characteristics, or the multiple intersecting forms of discrimination that influence the realization of human rights. We commit to take actions to empower vulnerable groups to better exercise their rights.
Our commitment to human rights defenders: Our commitment to respecting and advancing human rights includes respect and support for the work of human rights defenders around the world. Human rights defenders are people who, individually or with others, engage in activities and advocacy that contribute to the protection of human rights and the rule of law, good governance, tolerance, and diversity and inclusion. Human rights defenders face persistent physical, social, economic, and psychological threats. Microsoft does not tolerate threats, intimidation, retaliation, physical, legal or cyber-attacks against human rights defenders. This commitment extends to all human rights defenders, including those working on issues related to Microsoft and those exercising their rights of freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, including to challenge or protest aspects of our own business.
In all countries, and especially in those with weaker protections for civic freedoms and where threats to human rights defenders are more pronounced, we commit to consult with local human rights defenders as part of our human rights due diligence and to support their work with increased sensitivity to the challenges and complexities they face. We seek to build human rights defenders’ capacity to achieve their goals through increased trust in technology. To achieve that goal Microsoft also commits to enabling and advancing human rights defenders’ cybersecurity through Microsoft AccountGuard and their use of technology.
Our commitment to mitigating climate change: Climate change presents a challenge to the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights and exacerbates existing poverty and inequality. We cannot meet our human rights responsibilities in a world severely impacted by climate change. Our commitment to mitigating climate change is focused on carbon, ecosystems, water and waste and is implemented throughout our operations and supply chain. We respect the right to land, natural resources and water. We recognize our responsibility to manage the environmental and economic footprints of our offices, our suppliers and our raw material producers, that can have far reaching positive and negative impacts on the physical and financial wellbeing of individuals and households. We track and report on our progress towards our 2030 environmental sustainability goals in our annual environmental sustainability reporting.
We recognize that some groups and communities are more vulnerable than others to climate change impacts, including women, communities living in or near poverty, indigenous peoples and minority groups. Our understanding of these vulnerabilities informs our approach to just transition and to climate justice. We commit to engaging with marginalized communities, or their legitimate representatives, when developing our sustainability policies and practices. We commit to leveraging our technology and innovation to support vulnerable communities in bolstering their climate resilience.
Our commitment to collaboration and collective action: Few human rights challenges related to digital technologies can be addressed through one company, or even one industry acting alone, so partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaborations are at the heart of our efforts.
We were early signatories to the United Nations Global Compact, and we are a founding member of the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a collaborative effort among ICT companies, civil society organizations, socially responsible investors, and academics. We commit to the GNI Principles on freedom of expression and privacy rights.
We recognize the threats to our democratic processes from cyber-enabled interference. The Microsoft Defending Democracy Program works with stakeholders including governments, non-governmental organizations, academics, and industry globally to protect political campaigns from hacking, increase transparency related to political advertising online, explore technological solutions to preserve and protect electoral processes, and defend against disinformation campaigns.
We also work with others in industry – while also consulting with civil society organizations, researchers, governments, and law enforcement agencies around the world – to combat the abuse of digital platforms. For example, we actively participate in the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) and the WePROTECT Global Alliance to End Child Exploitation Online. In alignment with our commitment to accessible technology products and services, we actively participate in the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict).
Outside the technology sector, we are signatories of the Joint Labor Union and CEO Statement on the Paris Agreement, committing to a just transition of the workforce achieved through dialogue with workers and their unions. We seek to empower the organizations who conduct climate-change research and uplift it. We use our voice to speak out on public policy issues that will be critical to reducing humanity’s carbon impact and managing ecosystems. By engaging with companies across industries to share how we put our human rights commitments into action, we aspire to serve as a catalyst for action by others in the technology sector and beyond.