Human rights. Business. The future.

What role does your company play in tomorrow’s world?

Globalisation, climate change and digitalisation are radically changing the lives of a global population that will soon reach 9 billion people.

For businesses, this presents both an opportunity and a challenge. You can explore new markets and business models, finding room to grow in a global network of diverse players. At the same time, there is ever more pressure to align corporate principles with those of the extended value chain. Along with respect for environmental standards, the active safeguarding of human rights has become an indispensable element of every forward-looking corporate strategy.

We will help you to effectively incorporate respect for human dignity into your business activities.


Respect for human rights is a corporate responsibility »

The United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have been in effect since 2011. According to these principles, it is not only the responsibility of states to actively protect human rights; companies, too, must respect human rights in their global operations and implement appropriate processes to avoid and counter any negative impacts on human rights. This corporate responsibility applies whether or not governments fufil their own responsibilities.

The UN principles are increasingly reflected in regional and national laws in Europe and across the world, with examples including the EU’s 2014 Directive on Disclosure of Non-Financial and Diversity Information, the UK’s 2016 Modern Slavery Act and California’s 2010 Transparency in Supply Chains Act. Companies and financial institutions have to report what they are doing to respect and protect human rights. There is now a serious obligation on large companies to carry out risk assessments and to create and implement mitigation strategies. Naturally, these transparency requirements also extend to companies’ suppliers.

Business Case

Lived values create added value for companies and stakeholders. »

When it comes to human rights violations, it is no longer acceptable to pretend to have no influence over production conditions.

Consumers are increasingly aware of production conditions, while partners and other stakeholders expect supply-chain transparency. Talented and committed workers also increasingly see social responsibility and environmental sustainability as factors when determining the attractiveness of a potential employer.

If you want to protect your reputation into the future, you must understand the conditions under which your products are made, and establish processes that prevent human-rights violations. This is the only way to ensure trust in your business and brands


Demonstrable responsibility is the basis of credible corporate communication »

Protecting your reputation and earning trust, strengthening your brand, boosting margins and revenues, reducing liabilities, promoting your attractiveness as an employer, shoring up access to capital and export credits, securing public tenders – sustainability is a strategic issue for your corporate success.
Many studies show it can make a significant contribution to the bottom line when credibly implemented and communicated.



Löning – Human Rights & Responsible Business was established to help companies meet their human rights obligations in a strategic way.

Human rights diligence in five steps

We will work with you to identify which human rights issues apply to your business and where in your supply chain there might be risks of violations. Through this analysis, we will develop comprehensive strategies for overcoming these risks and ensuring sustainable success for your business. »




Everything starts with the executive board’s decision on respect for human rights. To this end, we will work with you on analysing what human rights mean in concrete terms, in the context of your business activities. We will show you where the risks lie, while providing an overview of the economic, social and political environment, as well as expected regulatory developments.




The initial orientation is the basis for a practicable strategy that we will tailor to the specifics of your supply chain. A gap analysis will identify which risks need addressing, and we will formulate milestones that can be used to reduce these risks on a step-by-step basis. We will always have in mind the complex interplay between the market, society and politics – and how you want to navigate it.




There are various measures that can lead to the implementation of a human rights strategy and, in turn, a sustainable corporate culture. We will support and advise you on the steps that are needed for reorganisation and transparent reporting, across your global operations.



Harnessing benefits

As we know from experience, respect for human rights and supply-chain transparency provides many new business possibilities. These range from new products to fresh marketing potential and stable, trusted relationships with your most important stakeholders. We will show you how to make the most of these opportunities.


Shaping your future

In a fast-evolving world, maintaining the high ground on human rights issues means staying the course. We will help you to develop your future strategies in a consistent manner, by evaluating necessary process adjustments for their impact and implications.

A think tank for industry and human rights

We work for institutes, NGOs, governments and companies as a policy developer and practice-oriented think tank. We put particular emphasis on dialogue, providing a bridge between activists and managers and promoting cross-sectoral approaches to human rights issues. »

We work with stakeholders around the world in the areas of:

  • Research
  • Outlining and developing concepts
  • Talks
  • Innovation workshops
  • Stakeholder dialogues
  • Newsletters
  • Networking

Human rights have many dimensions

Working conditions

Poor working conditions and forced labour are almost always involved in cheap production »

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), over 20 million people are currently suffering under slave-like conditions – more than ever before in human history.


Millions of people lack basic healthcare. »

Life expectancy indicators starkly demonstrate these disparities: In Germany, girls born in 2012 have a life expectancy of 83 years; in Nigeria, the average is less than 55 years.

Child labour

Children around the world are made to work in life-threatening conditions. »

The ILO estimates that 11 percent of all children are working, with almost half of them being between 5 and 11 years of age.

Living standards

Too little to live: Many working people are starving. »

Many developing countries have a minimum wage, but it is often not enough. In Bangladesh, for example, the statutory minimum wage is just €18 per month, far below the living wage of around €55.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), hunger affected around 842 million people around the world in 2013. Three in four undernourished people live in rural areas and must produce their own food.


Water, forests and wilderness: The foundations of life are endangered around the world. »

Every year, between 120 million and 150 million square kilometres of forest are wiped out – a rate equivalent to 48 football fields every minute.


23. Februar 2018
BerlinGood Textile Foundation Board Meeting »
02. Februar 2018
Schloss Bellevue, BerlinUNICEF Neujahrsgespräch »

Meeting with Vice-President Leni Robredo of the Philippines on foreign direct investment, trade and the role of international corporations in fighting poverty. (Manila, June 2017)

Markus Löning at the Economic Forum for Trade and Industry. Manila, July 2017

Demonstrating for better working conditions and compliance with labour law in the garment industry. Yangon, 2017

With Abhisit Vejjajiva, the 27th prime minister of Thailand (2008 – 2011) and now the current leader of the Democrat Party.

With Chancellor Merkel and UNICEF Chair Jürgen Heraeus in the Federal Chancellery. The chancellor had discussed youth politics with UNICEF junior ambassadors.

Children and youths at a road construction site in Myanmar. They were building a road from Nay Pi Taw to Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State.

Interview with a British journalist in front of the Yangon house of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Markus Löning with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, during Germany’s membership of the UN Security Council.

The reception of a Syrian refugee family at Hannover Airport. Markus Löning worked to ensure that Syrian refugees with relatives in Germany could travel there.

With the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief and German Red Cross at the loading of relief supplies for the Philippines. Tents, toiletries and water-treatment supplies were needed following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.

Markus Löning met these labour rights activists in Beijing. Despite the ban on trade unions in China, the country has many activists and NGOs that push for fair wages and better working conditions.

Sewing factory in Vietnam, where the managing director has adopted social-standards compliance as his business model. He says there is sufficient demand for this, and that his order books are full.


Our team

We support companies as they integrate respect for human rights into their corporate strategies. We understand the social and economic realities in emerging countries and have extensive experience working with governments, local activists and human rights organisations. In short, we know what we are talking about and what to do. We will help you develop a strategy that contributes to your sustainable business success.

He was the German government’s human rights commissioner from 2010 to 2013, and between 2002 and 2009 he was a member of the Bundestag with a focus on European and development policy. He has visited 70 countries, working with governments and civil society around the world. He is an honorary vice-president of Liberal International and a member of UNICEF’s German committee. Prior to his political career, Löning worked for 15 years in advertising.

Markus Löning

Markus Löning founded Löning – Human Rights & Responsible Business at the start of 2014. »

He has many years of experience in this field as well as that of cultural change, and he supervised the founding of the Global Reporting Initiative. As director of sustainability, he has since 2007 been advising the global coaching company Performance Consultants International in the areas of leadership, cultural transformation and coaching. Prior to that, he was since 1998 a senior advisor at SustainAbility, where he developed the sustainability strategies of international corporations while stimulating stakeholder engagement and sustainability reporting.

Tell Münzing

Tell Münzing is a senior consultant in the fields of sustainability, strategy and innovation. »

She is qualified in Latin American regional studies and has many years of experience in sustainability, leadership and stakeholder dialogue. She established and led Young Leaders for Sustainability, a cross-sectoral leadership program for young professionals who promote community-oriented change in their organisations and companies. She previously worked in a project for social workers and students at BUNDjugend. She is the co-founder of HappyWorks, a think tank for developing the working world of the future.

Lisa Szeponik

Lisa Szeponik is a consultant in the fields of sustainability and dialogue processes. »

A lawyer, he has since 1999 been involved in political and strategic business consultancy, where he has used risk analysis regarding security and economic policy conditions as the basis for successful engagement with various companies in sensitive parts of the world. He is able to draw on a longstanding network in a number of African and Middle-Eastern countries, as well as deep background knowledge about these regions. Other aspects of his advice and risk analysis include cybersecurity and data protection.

Manuel Grubenbecher

Manuel Grubenbecher is a consultant in the field of crisis prevention and management. »

Her linguistic, cultural and political knowledge gives her excellent access to and assessment of regional sources. She is also an expert in social media, organisation and customer relations management, and is responsible for the sales department.

Thao Wiesner

Thao Wiesner is a researcher with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. »

She spent the last three years working as a consultant at Business in the Community and the Corporate Citizenship consultancy, where she developed extensive knowledge in the areas of corporate responsibility and sustainability strategies. She has helped companies incorporate responsible and sustainable practices in all business areas, by conducting gap analyses, benchmarking projects, strategic development and implementation, and impact assessment. She combines her management qualification (M.Sc. in Business Administration) with her experience in social and environmental sustainability management to advise companies on their sustainability strategies.

Stephanie Poppendörfer

Stephanie Poppendörfer is a sustainability consultant with a focus on strategic development, benchmarking and impact assessment.

Interested to work for us?

If you want to join our team for an internship
or a job please send us an email with your cv.



Internes Stakeholder-Engagement zur Verankerung von menschenrechtlicher Sorgfalt in Unternehmen
Knowledge Paper zum Webinar vom 12.06.17 »

Die Bedeutung der Menschenrechte im wirtschaftlichen Kontext
Knowledge Paper zum Webinar vom 18.01.2017

Die CSR-Berichtspflicht
Knowledge Paper zum Webinar vom 08.03.2017

Menschenrechtliche Risikoanalyse
Knowledge Paper zum Webinar vom 05.04.17

Webinar vom 12.06.2017
Stakeholder Engagement intern: Menschenrechtliche Sorgfalt verankern

Webinar vom 05.04.2017
Menschenrechtliche Risikoanalyse: Ein Überblick

Webinar vom 08.03.2017
Die CSR-Berichtspflicht verstehen und umsetzen

Webinar vom 18.01.2017
Was bedeuten Menschenrechte im wirtschaftlichen Kontext?

Artikel aus liberal 1/2017
Das Gewissen kauft mit ein

Opening Speech Economic Freedom Network Asia, Manila 2016
Human Rights and Business Responsibilities

Studie 2016: Lieferketten sind Menschenketten
Wo deutsche Unternehmen in Bezug auf Menschenrechte stehen

Executive Summary der Studie 2016
Wo deutsche Unternehmen in Bezug auf Menschenrechte stehen

Moderne Sklaverei
Was bedeutet der Modern Slavery Act für Ihr Unternehmen?

Insights: Bangladesh
Labour conditions in Bangladesh



Meinungsartikel – Zeit für eine UN Generalsekretärin
Zeit wird’s für eine UN-Generalsekretärin
(Tagesspiegel, 28.12.2015)

Zur Aufnahme syrischer Flüchtlinge
Was die Wirtschaft für Flüchtlinge tun kann
(Capital, 26.11.2015)

Zu den EU-Beitrittsverhandlungen mit Serbien
Härte, Ausdauer und Hilfe
(Süddeutsche Zeitung, 02.09.2015)

Our clients


Contact form

 Mr Ms Mrs

Löning – Human Rights & Responsible Business

Markus Löning
Naunynstrasse 40
10999 Berlin
Phone +49 30 61 65 31 50

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