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Motoko Aizawa

Motoko Aizawa

Motoko Aizawa is an expert on environmental, social and governance dimensions of sustainability, as well as policy initiatives to help governments and companies improve their sustainability performance, particularly in the financial and extractives sectors.

She is the principal author of the 2006 IFC Performance Standards, and the human rights provisions in the 2012 version of these Standards. Until recently, Motoko led efforts by the World Bank to update its Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies. Motoko is a member of the Human Rights Commission of the District of Columbia, a civic group appointed by the Government of Washington, DC that adjudicates private sector discrimination complaints brought under the D.C. Human Rights Act.

There are currently no Briefings by Motoko Aizawa

Commentary: Draghi Must Accept ECB Contributes to Inequality

This letter was originally published in the Financial Times (subscription needed).

Sir, We were intrigued to read your report, “Draghi makes appeal for those left behind” (September 14, subscription needed), on the speech by Mario Draghi, president...

20 September 2016

By Motoko Aizawa, Daniel Bradlow, Professor of International Development Law and African Economic Relations, University of Pretoria

Flickr/UK Department for International Development

Commentary: Impact Investing - A New Player in Protecting Human Rights?

This commentary was originally published on openDemocracy.

In 2007, the Rockefeller Foundation devised the term “impact investing”, officially inaugurating a new era in finance and development.

This form of investing channel funds privately to...

27 July 2016

By Motoko Aizawa

Commentary: Where have the UN Guiding Principles Taken Us and Where Do We Go Next? 

On June 16, 2016, IHRB and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) co-organised a commemorative event to mark the five-year anniversary of the unanimous adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)....

20 June 2016

By Motoko Aizawa, Sara Blackwell, Legal and Policy Coordinator, ICAR

Commentary: The Infrastructure We Don’t Want - OECD Infrastructure Advice to the G20

This commentary was originally published on the Heinrich Böll Foundation website

As global growth has stalled over the last few years, the Group of 20 countries (G20) has made infrastructure investment a centerpiece of its policy work, expecting...

08 June 2016

By Motoko Aizawa

Commentary: Central banks and human rights - Signs of alignment

This commentary was originally published on RightingFinance and reproduced here with permission.

The work of central banks is not easily understood and often takes place out of direct public view. Equipped with traditional macroeconomic tools of...

13 May 2016

By Motoko Aizawa

Commentary: Five Things that can Promote Transparency in Public-Private Partnerships

This article was originally published on Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.

Transparency is an important but easily overlooked agenda in the mix of challenges facing Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) that aim to tackle a range of development...

12 November 2015

By Motoko Aizawa

Commentary: Social Impact Bonds For Factories In Bangladesh

This op-ed was published on on March 24, 2015.

The two main initiatives established in response to the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, where nearly 1,200 garment workers lost their lives from a factory collapse, are wrestling...

24 March 2015

By Motoko Aizawa

Iron Ore train in Liberia. | Photo: J-B Dodane

Commentary: Investment in Africa: Thinking Beyond Stereotypes

This week President Obama will host the US-Africa Leadership Summit, a gathering of 51 Heads of State from across Africa.

The meeting in Washington, DC should discuss the kind of investments that not only promote economic growth, but that also help...

03 August 2014

By Motoko Aizawa, John Ruggie, Patron, IHRB

China's Crude Oil Imports by Source, 2013. Source: FACTS Global Energy, Global Trade Information Services.

Commentary: “Going Out” in Search of Oil and Gas: How Should Chinese Companies Tackle Human Rights Challenges?

Amid soul searching for causes of the unexpected February slump in Chinese exports – maybe it’s the Chinese New Year, or perhaps the start of a real down turn? – China’s overseas direct investments (ODI) continue to flow vigorously.

According to...

24 March 2014

By Motoko Aizawa

Bankers say they are carrying out due diligence on environmental and social issues but multiple standards make due diligence confusing.

Commentary: One Day in South Africa, Two Events, and a Major Milestone for Financial Institutions

Johannesburg, July 19, 2011. I wish I could have been in two places at once.

On that day, I was part of a workshop, convened by the law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, the University of Witwatersrand, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business, on...

03 August 2011

By Motoko Aizawa

Herman Mulder, a former executive at the Dutch bank ABN-Amro, issued a passionate plea: “Don’t waste a good crisis”.

Commentary: Cash, Crisis, Conscience: How can the financial sector ensure it respects human rights?

When I speak with bankers, they all say they want financial institutions to be recognized as respected members of society. Is it enough for the sector to be able to better address risks management, ESG sustainability, business ethics, and...

18 July 2011

By Motoko Aizawa

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