The United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights, unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 represent a watershed in the business and human rights debate. The Guiding Principles are based on differentiated but complementary responsibilities: the state duty to protect human rights and corporate responsibility to respect human rights. The proposed mechanism of human rights due diligence, which is intended to help companies discharge their responsibility to respect human right is largely based on risk assessment and management. This thesis is an in-depth study of the concept of risk in the context of the UN Guiding Principles. I argue that the concept of risk is central in John Ruggie’s approach of principled pragmatism, which implies striking a balance between the feasibility and the effectiveness of the Guiding Principles. The risk-based approach to corporate human rights responsibility, being relevant for business, has played a key role in reaching the consensus on the UN Guiding Principles. The human rights due diligence, if widely implemented by companies will broaden the concept of risk in business, shifting the focus of risk management from being primarily on shareholders to all stakeholders. Moreover, the risk-based approach is important for promoting the implementation of the Guiding Principles by companies as the link between human rights risks and business risks and the self-interest of business in risk management, constitutes the business case for human rights due diligence.