Business operations can often affect the surrounding communities in which they operate and impact the enjoyment of human rights by community members, including the right to practice their cultural traditions. This may be a result of actions that are intentional, such as forced labour or forcibly relocating communities from their lands, or actions that are negligent, such as environmental damage (including contamination of land, water pollution and leaks of toxic chemicals). Communities must not be forced from their land without their full and informed consent, and payment of just and fair compensation.
A lack of due and just compensation negatively impacts the lives of community members and at its extreme may cause community members to become homeless and without means to support a living. Typically, the socially and economically vulnerable members of society (such as women, children and ethnic minorities) suffer the most. The impact may also be particularly destructive to the traditional livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples whose way of life and identity is often closely related to their land. Further, such actions may have broader societal implications as they may lead to intensified inequality, marginalization and segregation of vulnerable community members, and increased social conflict.