News & Events

New course on Business and Human Rights in Norway - Rafto, IHRB, University of Bergen

07 August 2017.

The University of Bergen, in partnership with Rafto and IHRB, is offering a new masters course in Business and Human Rights this autumn in Norway. The course has been developed with the Department of Comparative Politics at the University, and is suitable for anyone working or interested in the business and human rights field.

The course explores the links between human rights violations and corporate activity, and the importance of international standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in strengthening state and business performance regarding these issues. The course will focus on what corporate human rights due diligence means in practice, including how companies can address key dilemmas faced when seeking to ensure respect for human rights in business operations globally.

Participants will explore emerging sector-specific and thematic issues on the human rights and business agenda, and assess the effectiveness of existing efforts of relevance in Norway and globally. The course will provide students not only with a deeper understanding of how human rights concerns relate to a range of industry sectors but also with practical guidance in developing strategies consistent with international human rights standards.

Course information

  • The course counts 15 credit points and will be offered in English as part-time study
  • Classes held over three weekends (8-10 Sept, 6-8 Oct, 1-3 Dec 2017). 
  • The fee will be NOK 16.000. 
  • A bachelors degree or the equivalent and a minimum of two years’ work experience is required. 
  • Application deadline: 20 Aug 2017. 
  • Course code SAMPOL610.

Course topics

  • Foundational Principles
  • The UN Guiding Principles
  • Sectoral Approaches
  • Companies and the Law
  • Critical Issues 
More information on the course can be found on the Rafto website.

2024 Olympic Bid Evaluation - A Human Rights Review of LA and Paris

25 July 2017.

On 5th July 2017 the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Evaluation Commission 2024 published its assessment of the LA and Paris bids for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Evaluation report focuses on four broad categories: Games Concept, Games Experience, Sustainability and Legacy, and Games Delivery.

 

 

This briefing offers an overview of what the Evaluation says about each candidate city’s approach to human rights, with a summary table at the end drawing out the main ‘strengths’ and ‘challenges’ from the Evaluation.

 

 

This briefing has been produced by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) as the secretariat to the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform). The information in this briefing does not necessarily reflect the views of MSE Platform members.

 

 

 

 

 

Image: IOC

UEFA and OIF Join Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights

20 July 2017.

UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations) and the OIF (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie) and the have joined the Steering Committee of the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform). 

The MSE Platform is an emerging multi-stakeholder coalition of international and intergovernmental organisations, governments, sports governing bodies, athletes, unions, sponsors, broadcasters, and civil society groups. Through dialogue and joint action its mission is to ensure all actors involved in staging an event fully embrace and operationalise their respective human rights duties and responsibilities throughout the MSE lifecycle.

MSE Platform members are working together to develop more comprehensive, consistent, and accountable approaches to managing social risks and adverse human rights impacts arising from MSEs, and overcome the barriers to better knowledge transfer and good practice within and between sport traditions and events. This collective action seeks to raise awareness, innovate, advocate, educate, drive positive change, and give a voice to those most affected.

Chaired by Mary Robinson, the MSE Platform is facilitated by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB). The MSE Platform is driven by the efforts of a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee of more than 25 organisations, supported by a high-level Advisory Group. Throughout 2017, the MSE Platform’s work is being implemented through four Task Forces.

Peter Gilliéron, Chairman of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee, commented:

After having included Human Rights criteria into the EURO-2024 bidding process it was for UEFA a logical move to join the MSE Platform.  It is a UEFA  social responsibility objective to make the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) an integrated part of all our activities. Through our membership at the MSE Platform we are looking forward to contributing to the respect of the UNGPs in European Football and beyond”.

John Morrison of IHRB, the MSE Platform's secretariat, added:

OIF brings together 84 States (58 members and 26 observers) from the five continents. With the upcoming 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics, as well as the range of upcoming sports events in francophone nations such the 2017 Francophone Games in Abidjan and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, the participation of the OIF will add great value to the MSE Platform’s work. 

MINEPS VI Adopts “Kazan Action Plan”, Includes Rights of Athletes, Workers, Spectators

15 July 2017.

Mineps VI logo

This week, the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI) adopted the “Kazan Action Plan”, which sets priorities for the implementation of sports policy in the coming years.

The Kazan Action Plan aims to address the integrity of sport and includes the safeguarding of the rights of athletes, workers, spectators and other groups. It specifically provides that “the fundamental human rights of everyone affected by or involved in the delivery of physical education, physical activity and sport must be protected, respected and fulfilled in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.”

...the fundamental human rights of everyone affected by or involved in the delivery of physical education, physical activity and sport must be protected, respected and fulfilled in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
Kazan Action Plan

The World Players Association, a member of the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights, took the opportunity in Kazan to release the World Player Rights Policy.

The policy builds on the UN Guiding Principles and articulates the importance of international sporting organisations and other relevant sport stakeholders in adopting a player rights policy and spells out the necessary commitments and obligations which any such policy must contain.

 

The MINEPS VI conference documents are available here.

 

 

Image: MINEPS VI (infocus_jpizarro_drupal)

GE, Mars Inc., Tesco and VINCI Join Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment

18 June 2017.

Four international brands today join the roster of seven other global companies in the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.

GE, Mars Inc., Tesco, and Vinci join The Coca-Cola Company, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IKEA, M&S, Unilever, and Walmart in committing to the “Employer Pays Principle” and calling for collective action and bold leadership to achieve its vision of eradicating worker fees within the next 10 years.

The Employer Pays Principle states:

No worker should pay for a job, the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer.

Payment of recruitment fees by migrant workers is a key cause of forced labour, creating cycles of debt and leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation.

The announcement was made at the inaugural Annual Leadership Forum on Responsible Recruitment in Berlin, co-hosted by IHRB, the Leadership Group, and Humanity United. The Annual Leadership Forum brings together global brands, suppliers, recruitment agencies, governments, and NGOs to discuss and examine how to advance ethical recruitment and combat the exploitation of migrant workers in global supply chains.

The opening session of the Forum was livestreamed and featured representatives from IHRB, Humanity United, M&S, and the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Commenting on the announcement, GE pressed the importance of real and practical solutions:

Forced labor is a challenging and complicated problem that must be tackled with urgency through the joint efforts of governments, corporations, and civil society around the world. GE is proud to join this select group of companies looking for real and practical solutions to one of the core causes of this problem – unethical recruitment. Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, General Electric Company.

Mars Incorporated emphasised the ability to learn from other leaders across sectors: 

“We believe everyone touched by our business should be treated with fairness, dignity and respect. We’re here to learn with other leaders who are ready to move from conversation to collective action on responsible recruitment practices that will make a meaningful difference for vulnerable workers around the world.”
Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability and Health and Wellbeing Officer, Mars, Incorporated

VINCI added that collective action is crucial to wholesale change in the business model for migrant worker recruitment: 

“Our business sector must get involved on these vital issues. Working collectively and sharing best practices and tools is the best way to promote the Employer Pays Principle across the industry.
Franck Mougin Executive Vice-President, Human Resources and Sustainable Development, VINCI

FIFA Publishes Human Rights Policy

08 June 2017.

Photo: FIFA

FIFA, the international governing body of association football, futsal, and beach soccer, has published its first Human Rights Policy. According to FIFA, the document embodies Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes, which states “FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights”.

FIFA’s Human Rights Policy was developed by the FIFA administration in collaboration with FIFA’s Governance Committee and “specifies and strengthens FIFA’s human rights commitment and will serve as guidance for FIFA’s human rights work”.

The document was reviewed by FIFA’s Human Rights Advisory Board and a range of external stakeholders, including international organisations, trade unions, civil society organisations, academia and FIFA sponsors.

FIFA has also published an Activity Update Report detailing its progress on human rights. The report focuses on FIFA’s activities in the year proceeding its statutory human rights commitment of April 2016.

Key Provisions of FIFA's Human Rights Policy include: 
  • It is signed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura
     
  • section 1: Commits FIFA to "respecting human rights in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights" and outlines its commitment to embedding the policy internally and implementing the ongoing due diligence and remedy processes outlined in the Guiding Principles.
     
  • section 5: Provides examples of FIFA's salient human rights risks, covering: labour rights; land acquisition and housing rights; discrimination; security; players' rights
     
  • section 7: Outlines FIFA's commitment to follow international human rights standards in the face of conflicting national legal requirements  
     
  • Outlines "FIFA's Approach to Human Rights" consisting of four pillars: i) Commit and embed ii) Identify and address iii) Protect and remedy iv) Engage and communicate

World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry Endorses Sporting Chance Principles

23 May 2017.

The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) has endorsed the Sporting Chance Principles on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights.

Produced to further the efforts of the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (“MSE Platform”), the Principles aim to underpin the common goal of ensuring that human rights are central to mega-sporting events throughout their lifecycle.

WFSGI is an independent association made up of sports brands, manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, national/regional federations, industry and trade associations and all sporting goods industry related buisnesses.

The MSE Platform is an emerging multi-stakeholder coalition of international and intergovernmental organisations, governments, sports governing bodies, athletes, unions, sponsors, broadcasters, and civil society groups. Through dialogue and joint action its mission is to ensure all actors involved in staging an event fully embrace and operationalise their respective human rights duties and responsibilities throughout the MSE lifecycle.

WFSGI is endorsing the Principles to further its efforts to develop and promote an understanding within the World Federation about the relevance of global social and environmental challenges for each individual member company. 

All stakeholders, including non-MSE Platform members such as WFSGI, are invited to reference the Principles, and expressions of support or endorsement are welcome.

Commenting on the announcement, Robbert de Kock, WFSGI President & CEO said:

“The WFSGI supports the work of the IHRB and the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights to address the human rights challenges of running sports events and we are pleased to endorse their ‘Sporting Chance Principles’, which were established in 2016 to promote and embed human rights considerations into the planning, delivery and legacy of sporting events.”

John Morrison, Chief Executive of IHRB, added:

“We are very pleased to have WFSGI’s endorsement of the Sporting Chance Principles. These Principles inform our common goal of ensuring that all actors fully embrace respect for human rights at every stage in the lifecycle of mega-sporting events.“

Tokyo 2020 and the ILO Agree Partnership to Promote Decent Work

13 May 2017.

Photo: / Uta MUKUO

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the 2020 Olympic Games (TOCOG) have agreed a unique partnership agreement aimed at advancing “decent work” through socially responsible labour practices amongst the Games’ delivery partners.

The milestone partnership, announced during a visit to Japan by Guy Ryder, the ILO’s Director-General, will be formalised by a Memorandum of Understanding.

This constitutes Tokyo 2020’s first partnership with a UN organisation, and the first time that the ILO officially partners with an Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee. The partnership will encourage enterprises to play a positive role in promoting decent work through corporate social responsibility (CSR).

 

Read full article here.

FIBA, Basketball’s World Governing Body, Reverses Controversial Headgear Ban

04 May 2017.

Photo: ISU Athletic Media Relations

FIBA - basketball's world governing body - today announced that it will allow basketball players to wear headgear from October 2017.

In an important decision, FIBA's Mid-Term Congress unanimously ratified the new headgear rule after its first ever Mid-Term Congress. The decision to overturn the longstanding ban, which particularly impacted religious observant players requiring headgear such as a hijab or dastar in order to play whilst following their faiths.

FIBA’s decision follows a sustained lobbying effort from advocacy groups involved in the MSE Platform for Human Rights, including Human Rights Watch, Shirzanan, and the World Players Association (formerly UNI World Athletes). Shirzanan, which promotes and advocates for Muslim female athletes, along with Athlete Ally, a campaigning organisation dedicated to fostering inclusive sports communities, have championed the cause of American Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (pictured), a former star player at the University of Memphis, who was barred from playing for three seasons due to her commitment to wearing a hijab during games.

The decision comes at the end of two and a half years of internal review, and followed an historic FIBA test game in Iran in April that featured women wearing hijabs and marked the first time men watched a women's sporting event in person.

 

Photo: ISU Athletic Media Relations

UEFA Announces New Human Rights Requirements for 2024

01 May 2017.

European football's governing body UEFA has outlined specific criteria on human rights risk management for the first time in its requirements for hosting Euro 2024, developed with input from the Sport and Rights Alliance.

In March, UEFA confirmed that either Germany or Turkey will be awarded the rights to host the competition. The two countries must now put together bid dossiers by April 2018 meeting Uefa's criteria, including the new human rights requirements as well as anti-corruption measures.

The Tournament Requirements refer to the key international standards on human rights including the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, as well as the MSE Platform for Human Rights and its research into remedy mechanisms in particular. 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin reflected on the importance that human rights will have moving forward for the organisation and its events:

"The protection of human rights and labour rights is of the utmost importance for UEFA. It was imperative for us to introduce specific articles on the respect and protection of human rights in the bidding requirements for all of our competitions. From now on, bidding nations will have to adhere strictly to these articles in the framework of the organisation of all our tournaments and finals."

Key provisions of the 2024 Tournament Requirements include: 

The Bidders have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms, with a duty to respect human, labour and child rights during the Bidding Procedure and, if appointed, until the end of the dismantling of UEFA EURO 2024.
In order to respect at best human rights, the Bidders should aim at:
  • culturally embedding human rights;
  • proactively addressing human rights risks;
  • engaging with relevant stakeholders and implementing means of reporting and accountability.
Reporting indicators could for instance be:
  • Measures to prevent child labour in supply chains involved in UEFA EURO 2024 delivery or to prevent labour rights violations, in particular when building or renovating the Stadiums.
  • Evidence of meaningful consultation of stakeholders and vulnerable groups affected by UEFA EURO 2024.
  • A complaint mechanism and effective remedies for human rights infringements (including labour standards and corruption due diligence) in direct relation with the organisation of UEFA EURO 2024.
Compliance indicators could be:
  • ethic code comprising basic values;
  • comprehensive risk assessment with regard to corruption, fraud and any other criminal acts and unethical behaviour;
  • compliance management system according to the risk assessment and in line with international standards, including: code of conduct; guidelines on gifts, invitations, conflict of interest; secure reporting system (including mechanism to protect and secure the anonymity of whistleblowers and complainants who do not want to be publicly identified).

FIFA Joins Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights

25 April 2017.

Getty Images

FIFA – the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football) – football’s global governing body, has joined the Steering Committee of the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform).

The MSE Platform is an emerging multi-stakeholder coalition of international and intergovernmental organisations, governments, sports governing bodies, athletes, unions, sponsors, broadcasters, and civil society groups. Through dialogue and joint action its mission is to ensure all actors involved in staging an event fully embrace and operationalise their respective human rights duties and responsibilities throughout the MSE lifecycle.

MSE Platform members are working together to develop more comprehensive, consistent, and accountable approaches to managing social risks and adverse human rights impacts arising from MSEs, and overcome the barriers to better knowledge transfer and good practice within and between sport traditions and events. This collective action seeks to raise awareness, innovate, advocate, educate, drive positive change, and give a voice to those most affected.

Chaired by Mary Robinson, the MSE Platform is facilitated by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB). The MSE Platform is driven by the efforts of a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee of more than 20 organisations, supported by a high-level Advisory Group. Throughout 2017, the MSE Platform’s work is being implemented through four Task Forces.

John Morrison, Chief Executive of IHRB, remarked:

“We are very pleased to have FIFA join this collective endeavour to make human rights central to mega-sporting events and their legacies. FIFA and some other major sports governing bodies have been taking significant steps to commit to respecting human rights in their events, and begin embedding those commitments into their internal systems and processes. The work of the MSE Platform this year is very much focused on implementation in practice, and we look forward to FIFA’s contribution to this important work."

 
Image: Getty Images

Joint Committee on Human Rights Report - Promoting Responsibility and Ensuring Accountability

05 April 2017.

The UK House of Lords and House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its report entitled "Human Rights and Business 2017: Promoting responsibility and ensuring accountability". 

IHRB's submission and verbal evidence to the Joint Committee was quoted in relation to the following issues:

  • Governmental approach to and hierarchy of business and human rights (Para 70);
  • Inadequecies of the reporting requirements in the Modern Slavery Act (Para 95);
  • Adequate resourcing of the new Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (Para 126).

IHRB's comments on the UK National Action Plan on Business & Human Rights were also referenced, particularly in relation to the lack of future measurable commitments (Para 53), and the perceived lack of ministerial leadership (Para 61). The Report urges the Government to address concerns about the NCP as a matter of urgency (Para 217).

The Joint Committee also expressed explicit support for the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, a collaboration led by investors and civil society organisations including IHRB, that measures the human rights performance and due diligence of the world's largest corporations (Para 150).

In the report, the Joint Committee makes several recommendations, including that the Government should:

  • exclude from all public sector contracts companies that have not undertaken appropriate and effective human rights due diligence, and companies that have been found guilty of abuses (Paras 87, 88);
  • bring forward legislative proposals to make reporting on due diligence for all relevant human rights compulsory for large businesses, with a monitoring mechanism and an enforcement procedure (Para 114);
  • bring forward legislative proposals to grant powers to and fully resource local authorities to close down premises which are found to exploit workers through underpayment of wages, lack of employment contracts or significant disregard of health and safety regulations (Para 137);
  • bring forward legislation to impose a duty on all companies to prevent human rights abuses, as well as an offence of failure to prevent human rights abuses for all companies, including parent companies (Para 193).
  • use the opportunity of Brexit to set higher human rights standards in future trade agreements, to include workable provisions on enforcement, and to undertake human rights impact assessments before agreeing trade agreements (Para 239).
See the full report here.

Research into the Facilities Management Sector Launched

21 March 2017.

The UK Modern Slavery Act has increased the focus in the UK on the conditions of workers in both direct and extended supply chains. Facilities management is a growing sector within the UK and globally, but more awareness is needed of the ways in which companies in the sector can positively and negatively impact the rights of their workers, including their temporary and migrant workers. 

IHRB is embarking on a project to engage with companies in the facilities management sector in the UK to better map the structure of the sector, the policies facilities management companies use to set out their responsibilities, and the practical challenges they face in implementing them. 

The aim of the project is to develop recommendations and tools to support companies in the facilities management sector to implement their human rights responsibilities.

Companies with significant facilities management operations and related industry associations are invited to participate and provide direct insights into the sector, good practices, and key challenges. For further details, please contact IHRB's Waleria Schuele.

The First Wide-Scale Publicly Available Benchmark on Corporate Human Rights Performance

13 March 2017.

The first-ever public ranking of corporate human rights performance launched today, seeking to incentivise companies in a race to the top for the moral and commercial advantages of a strong human rights record.

BHP Billiton, Marks & Spencer Group, Rio Tinto, Nestle, Adidas and Unilever are among the small group of leading performers. Costco Wholesale, Macy’s, Grupo Mexico and Yum! Brands are among the much larger group with lower scores.

The methodology the product of two-years consultation with over 400 companies and organisations, and its application another year of research and consultation, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark is supported by 85 investors, accounting for $5.3 trillion in assets under management. The Benchmark is led by eight organisations, including IHRB, and analyses 98 companies from three high-risk industries – agricultural products, apparel and extractives – but will grow year-on-year to cover the world’s 500 largest listed enterprises.

The Benchmark examines companies’ policies, governance, processes, practices, and transparency, as well as how they respond to serious allegations of human rights abuse. This is done by scoring the companies on 100 indicators across six measurement themes. A small number of companies emerged as leaders scoring between 55-69%, but the results skew significantly to the lower bands. A clear majority, 63 out of 98 companies, score below 30%.

A detailed briefing on the 2017 results is available on the new CHRB website, where you can find the highest and lowest scoring companies in each industry by measurement theme, analysis of trends, and emerging practice.

Explore the 2017 results here.

Olympic Host City Contracts to Explicitly Include Human Rights Protections

28 February 2017.

The International Olympic Committee announced today that as of 2024 new host city contracts will for the first time include explicit human rights protections. The new contracts make specific reference to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which outline the human rights responsibilities of business enterprises and affirm the human rights duties of states with respect to business and other non-state actors. The contracts also include new references to anti-corruption standards.

The step marks a historic point in integrating human rights considerations into the earliest stages of the Olympic lifecycle. Implementation of the new clauses will be critical to preventing and remediating impacts in practice. Attention must also focus on Games coming before the contracts go into effect and lacking similar protections, including the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.  

The 2024 Olympics will be hosted by either Paris or Los Angeles, following Budapest’s withdrawal. The International Olympic Committee will announce the winning bid at a vote in Lima, Peru, in September 2017, and there has been speculation that the other city will be awarded the 2028 Games at the same time.
 

Key provisions of the revised Olympic Host City Contract include:

13. Respect of the Olympic Charter and promotion of Olympism

13.1. The Host City, the Host NOC and the OCOG undertake to abide by the provisions of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics and agree to conduct their activities related to the organisation of the Games in a manner which promotes and enhances the fundamental principles and values of Olympism, as well as the development of the Olympic Movement.

13.2. Pursuant to their obligations under §13.1, the Host City, the Host NOC and the OCOG shall, in their activities related to the organisation of the Games:

a. prohibit any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status;

b. protect and respect human rights and ensure any violation of human rights is remedied in a manner consistent with international agreements, laws and regulations applicable in the Host Country and in a manner consistent with all internationally-recognised human rights standards and principles, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, applicable in the Host Country; and

c. refrain from any act involving fraud or corruption, in a manner consistent with any international agreements, laws and regulations applicable in the Host Country and all internationally-recognised anti-corruption standards applicable in the Host Country, including by establishing and maintaining effective reporting and compliance.

13.3. The IOC, through its Coordination Commission referred to in §27, shall establish a reporting mechanism to address the obligations referred to in §13.1 and §13.2 in connection with the activities of the Host City, the Host NOC and the OCOG related to the organisation of the Games.

15. Sustainability and Olympic legacy

15.1. The Host City, the Host NOC and the OCOG undertake to carry out all activities foreseen under the HCC in a manner which embraces sustainable development and contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

MCRB Asks Stakeholders to Complete Survey

03 February 2017.

The Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) is asking stakeholders to complete a short survey.  The aim of the 15 minute survey is to help the Centre to improve its efforts to encourage more responsible business practices in Myanmar.

The survey covers attitudes to MCRB's strategy, publications, activities, and effectiveness in its brief to improve and promote responsible business practice in Myanmar.

 

Visit the MCRB website to participate in the survey.

11 White Papers Published on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights

31 January 2017.

Today, the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform) publishes the Sporting Chance White Papers, a series of 11 white papers that present the latest thinking, practice, and debate in relation to key human rights issues involved in the planning, construction, delivery, and legacy of mega-sporting events. Each paper also considers the case for, and potential role of, an independent centre of expertise on MSEs and human rights.

MSE Platform members are working together to develop more comprehensive, consistent, and accountable approaches to managing social risks and adverse human rights impacts arising from MSEs, and overcome the barriers to better knowledge transfer and good practice within and between sport traditions and events. This collective action seeks to raise awareness, innovate, advocate, educate, drive positive change, and give a voice to those most affected.

The Sporting Chance White Papers are the first step in this process, and the MSE Platform will be regularly updating the new dedicated portal at megasportingevents.org throughout the year to highlight the latest work, news, and events on MSEs and human rights.

Each White Paper has been published as “Version 1” and the MSE Platform would welcome comments, input, and expressions of support with regard to future iterations or research on each topic, as well as other critical topics for development in 2017 such as gender, LGBT+, and more.

 

The Sporting Chance White Papers

1. Sports Governing Bodies
2. Host Actors
3. Sponsors and Broadcasters
4. Affected Groups

Launch of the Responsible Recruitment Gateway

10 January 2017.

Today, IHRB and the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment launch the Responsible Recruitment Gateway at www.employerpays.org.

The Responsible Recruitment Gateway is home to the Employer Pays Principle increasingly being adopted by companies across sectors and around the world.

The Gateway hosts a growing resource bank to help companies move towards an ethical recruitment.

It is also a platform for the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, convened by IHRB. All members of the Leadership Group are publicly committed to the Employer Pays Principle and its implementation throughout their supply chains. The Leadership Group's aim is bold - the total eradication of fees being charged to migrant workers to secure employment.

The Employer Pays Principle:

No worker should pay for a job – the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer.

The Leadership Group acts as a vehicle for advocacy and collaboration, and serves as a knowledge hub for sharing good practice, tools, and guidance in relation to responsible recruitment. To achieve its vision of a world where no worker pays fees to secure employment, the Leadership Group seeks to catalyse leadership among an expanding membership base of companies committed to responsible recruitment.

Explore the Responsible Recruitment Gateway now.

IHRB at the Global Forum on Migration and Development

30 November 2016.

The ninth Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Summit will take place in Dhaka, Bangladesh from December 8th-12th 2016. The GFMD is a United Nations Member States Initiative to explore and address the challenges and opportunities relating to migration and its impacts on development. The two day informal government process is preceded by two civil society days where the views of a range of civil society stakeholders are expressed. Both civil society and government also share one day, known as Common Space, where interaction and exchange between the two groups can occur.

On December 10th, international human rights day, IHRB's Neill Wilkins will be taking part in a side event to the Common Space on "Promoting Fair and Ethical Recruitment in the Global Economy". Organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Verite this panel discussion will showcase and examine recent initiatives to promote responsible recruitment. The panel will also include Greg Priest from IKEA who will be describing his company’s commitment to the IHRB-led Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.

Update on the Corporate Human Rights Benchark - November 2016

21 November 2016.

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) is happy to announce that the results of the CHRB Pilot Benchmark 2016 will be published on the 13th March 2017.

The 2016 Pilot Benchmark will rank the top 100 companies in the agricultural products, apparel, and extractive industries using a rigorous methodology, developed over two years and in consultation with over 400 companies, industry associations, investors, governments, civil society representatives, academics and lawyers.

APG Asset Management joins the CHRB Steering Committee

APG Asset Management (APG) has joined the CHRB Steering Committee. APG, entrusted to invest EUR443 billion (August 2016) for several pension funds in the Netherlands, considers environmental, social and governance factors an integral part of their investment process. Anna Pot, Manager of Responsible Investment & Governance, represents APG on the CHRB Steering Committee: “In order to make informed investment decisions, APG requires sound, company-specific research measuring performance on important areas like respect for human rights. CHRB will make relevant research on human rights performance more visible and useful to investors by making it comparable across companies.” She adds, “As a long-term investor, we are committed to working with the companies we invest in. The benchmarking results will be a credible tool for our conversations with our portfolio companies and encouraging boards to further disclose material information on their company’s human rights performance.” 

The CHRB Steering Committee currently has 8 members: Aviva Investors, Calvert Investments, Nordea Wealth Management, APG Asset Management, The Institute for Human Rights and Business, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, VDBO and Eiris Foundation.

Investor Coalition

The investor coalition supporting the CHRB has grown to include 85 investors representing $5.3 trillion assets under management. Their statement of support is here. The investor coalition aims to continue to grow in the future. New signatories are invited to join the coalition through this website.

Research

Since launching the CHRB Pilot Benchmark in March 2016, we have been very busy. Following the end of initial disclosure period in May 2016, research began on the 106 selected companies. We were pleased with level of the information found in companies’ own documentation and websites as well as the level of disclosure that companies provided through the CHRB disclosure platform. These expansive disclosures led us to extend the research phase to October 2016.

Company Engagement

We are currently engaging with companies selected for the CHRB Pilot Benchmark on their draft company assessments. This is an opportunity for companies to review their profile, discuss and clarify any issues with us and provide additional information that they would like us to review. The engagement phase will end on the 2nd December 2016.

Walmart and M&S Join Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment

14 November 2016.

IHRB and the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment are delighted to welcome M&S and Walmart to the Leadership Group's steering committee and core membership.

The Leadership Group is a collaboration between leading companies and expert organisations to drive positive change in the way that migrant workers are recruited. Its aim is bold - the total eradication of fees being charged to workers to secure employment over the next ten years as a means of tackling forced labour and human trafficking.

M&S and Walmart join IKEA, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in committing to collaborative leadership to abolish workers' paying fees for jobs.

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, announced the news on 4 November. Vice President of Responsible Sourcing, Jan Saumweber, added:

"Combating forced labor remains a key challenge throughout the world, and regardless of where it occurs in the global supply chain, Walmart is committed to working with industry groups, governments, NGOs and suppliers to help eliminate forced labor. Walmart is proud to become a core member of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, so we can work with others passionate about this important issue in order to create solutions.”

Head of Responsible Sourcing at M&S, Louise Nicholls, commented that collaboration is crucial in tackling debt bondage:

“We believe we can achieve far more by working with others. The Employer Pays principle is a good example of this – by bringing our voices together, we have the opportunity to create momentum and awareness on an important issue which to date has not been well understood, working to promote a model of ethical recruitment and fairer treatment of migrant workers.”

IHRB at the 2016 UN Annual Forum on Business & Human Rights

08 November 2016.

The 2016 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights takes place in Geneva from 14 to 16 November. IHRB is co-organising, moderating or speaking at a number of sessions.
 

The Role of Companies in Addressing Legal and Societal Discrimination Against LGBTI People

Monday 14 November
15:00 - 16:20
Room XXVII

In many countries companies have been at the forefront of tackling discrimination against gay and lesbian people by establishing firm policies internally and advocating for change at national and international levels. The Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and IHRB conducted consultations in Mumbai, New York, Kampala, and Brussels, with a view to gathering examples of good practice in this field and preparing guidance for companies, to be launched in early 2017.

This session will explore how companies operate in difficult environments where discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people persists. It will showcase the experiences of companies and activists. It will provide examples of what companies can do to provide meaningful, practical support to LGBTI communities, as well as the role that companies can play in promoting laws, policies and actions that advance human rights. Participants will also discuss what can be done to improve respect for human rights and what Governments need to do to eliminate discrimination and promote diversity and protect human rights. Finally, the session will provide an overview of the corporate principles for Human Rights of LGBTI people under preparation.
 

Human Rights in the Context of Mega-Sporting Events 

Tuesday 15 November
09:00 - 10:20
Room XXI

Sport has a unique capacity to inspire humanity, and mega-sporting events (MSE) have great potential to positively impact the lives of people in the countries that host them.  But such large-scale events also involve significant risks to human rights and labor rights. After years of rising public concern in the arena of major global sports tournaments new collaborative efforts are needed.

On 13th-14th October 2016, the U.S. Department of State, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and IHRB co-hosted the global “Sporting Chance Forum on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights”, which sought to highlight and devise effective strategies to address the human rights challenges associated with every stage of the lifecycle of mega-sporting events.

The aim of this session is to present the ongoing multi-stakeholder dialogue process on this matter as well as a set of principles on collective action to address human rights challenges related to Mega-sporting events and answer to questions from the audience.


Eradicating Worker-Paid Recruitment Fees

Tuesday 15 November
16:40 - 18:00
Room XXVII

In this session, IHRB's John Morrison will lead a conversation to discuss what concrete action is required to tackle one of the root causes of modern slavery - worker fees. IKEA and Marks & Spencer, both members of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, will make a bold call to action for collaborative leadership by global companies to eradicate worker-paid recruitment fees in the next ten years, based on the Employer Pays Principle. The US State Department will discuss the importance of the role of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and the discussion will explore what part investors and workers’ organisations can and must play in pushing for higher standards.
 

Leadership, Leverage and the Special Challenges of Big Data

Wednesday 16 November
15:00 - 16:20
Room XXIII

Big Data will be one of the greatest human rights challenges for societies in the future – across many areas of government and business. Yet public awareness of the way in which information concerning them is collected, held and used is very low and businesses have tended to focus on the many advantages of such data more than the associated responsibilities. Obtaining and deploying large sets of data by businesses present unique challenges for embedding human rights into the internal workings of the corporation, and into the company’s role in a supply chain. Leadership in standard setting and the duty to exercise leverage both have special profiles when Big Data is the concern.

This session will draw on the work being carried out by the multi-disciplinary 'Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project' at the University of Essex, Human Rights Centre. The session will also make use of the insights and recommendations resulting from the IHRB-Wilton Park meeting on the issue in June 2016.

IHRB at Symposium on the UK Modern Slavery Act and Ethical Labour in Construction

02 November 2016.

The  construction and engineering sector, along with many other industries, are being subjected to increased scrutiny regarding forced labour and trafficking within their operations. Individual companies, professional bodies and industry trade associations are undertaking substantial work to better understand where the risks of exploitation lie within their operations and how they can be prevented.

On 10th November, Neill Wilkins of IHRB will join with industry representatives and other stakeholders at the House of Commons for a Symposium on the UK Modern Slavery Act and Ethical Labour in Construction. 

This industry event, organised by the Building Research Establishment, will focus on the requirements, implications, challenges, risks, responses and opportunities raised by the Modern Slavery Act's Transparency in Supply Chains clause in order to drive continuous improvement at construction, worksites and within associated supply chains and explain the contribution the industry  must make to prevent trafficking and forced labour.

Further details of the event can be found here.   
 

Image: msa4constructoin.com

The 2016 Sporting Chance Principles on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights

24 October 2016.

IHRB, the U.S. Department of State, and Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs co-hosted the global “Sporting Chance Forum on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights” on 13th-14th October 2016 in Washington, D.C.

The Forum convened more than 130 senior officials, executives, and experts to highlight and devise effective strategies to address the human rights challenges associated with mega-sporting events at every stage of the event lifecycle, from planning through legacy. 

The Forum was introduced by Forum co-hosts US Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Swiss Deputy State Secretary Alexandre Fasel and Honorary Chair of the Forum Mary Robinson. The Forum's opening session was live streamed, featuring presentations from International Labor Organization Deputy Director-General Greg Vines, International Olympic Committee Executive Board Member Anita DeFrantz, Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive David Grevemberg, and UNI World Athletes President Donald Fehr. The keynote speech was given by Martina Navratilova, legendary Czech-American tennis champion, coach, and advocate for LGBTI and women’s rights. 

The Forum introduced the Sporting Chance Principles on Human Rights in Mega-Sporting Events. These Principles – put forward by the Forum co-hosts – aim to underpin the common goal of ensuring that mega-sporting events showcasing the best in humanity are built on respect for human rights throughout their lifecycle. All stakeholders are invited to reference the Principles, and expressions of support or endorsement are welcome.

 


Pictured above (from left): Donald Fehr (President, UNI World Athletes); Greg Vines (Deputy Director-General, International Labor Organization); David Grevemberg (Chief Executive, Commonwealth Games Federation); Linda Kromjong (Secretary General, International Organisation of Employers); Tony Blinken (US Deputy Secretary of State); Virginia Bennett (US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State); Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, honorary Chair of Sporting Chance Forum); Alexandre Fasel (Swiss Deputy State Secretary); Anita DeFrantz (Executive Board Member, International Olympic Committee); Tim Noonan (Campaigns and Communications Director, International Trade Union Confederation).

IHRB at Modern Slavery Workshop for the Construction Industry

18 October 2016.

Today, on international anti-slavery day, IHRB's Neill Wilkins will be speaking about forced labour and responsible recruitment at a Modern Slavery Workshop for the Construction Industry and its Suppliers.

With the Modern Slavery Act 2015 over a year old, there is growing awareness relating to the challenges of labour exploitation both within construction workforces and the supply chain.

Hosted by the Building Research Establishment, Neill will join stakeholders from the construction and engineering industry to discuss how the sector can face up to the challenge of forced labour in its business operations both in the UK and abroad. In particular Neill will focus on the impact of flawed recruitment practices in construction and many other industries and explain the work that IHRB are undertaking to promote responsible recruitment as a key way of preventing exploitation.

IHRB at OSCE Workshop on Preventing Trafficking in Human Beings

07 September 2016.

Image: http://www.osce.org/cio/263211

IHRB's Migrant Workers Programme Manager Neill Wilkins is in Berlin this week taking part in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) workshop on the prevention of trafficking in human beings, hosted by the Government of Germany.

The workshop will be looking at the importance of preventing trafficking within public procurement processes. The workshop is a precursor to a wider conference later this week where over 180 representatives of government, international organisations, business and wider civil society will discuss the same  issue. IHRB's Chief Executive John Morrison will help lead part of the conference discussion.

Both John and Neill will be promoting IHRB's key messages about the importance of responsible recruitment in preventing forced labour and trafficking and advocating for the Employer Pays Principle - no worker should pay for a job- the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer. They will also help raise the important role that public procurement can play in promoting awareness of  trafficking and forced labour and its prevention as identified in IHRB's analysis of the 2015 EU Public Procurement Directives.  

Photo: Yasmin Fahimi, State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, speaking at a two-day high-level conference focusing on the prevention of human trafficking for labour exploitation in supply chains, Berlin, 7 September 2016. 

Credit: OSCE

IHRB at Colombo Process Symposium on Recruitment Intermediaries

23 August 2016.

Today IHRB's Migrant Workers Programme Manager Neill Wilkins is taking part in the First Symposium on Promoting Regulatory Harmonization of Recruitment Intermediaries in Colombo Process Member States (23rd August). 

The Colombo Process is an intergovernmental consultation process between South Asian countries to regulate and better manage the recruitment and deployment of migrant workers. The Symposium is taking place in advance of the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Colombo Process to be held in Sri Lanka later this week.

The Symposium is intended to review initiatives born out of global standards on ethical recruitment, such as ILO Conventions 181 on private employment agencies and 189 on domestic workers, relevant human rights instruments, and the International Confederation of Private Employment Services (CIETT) Code of Conduct. Panelists, including IHRB's Wilkins, will then share case studies that highlight issues reflecting certain global standards and the inherent challenges associated with the practical implementation around ethical recruitment and fair recruitment practices.

Neill will be highlighting the role of the private sector in ensuring ethical recruitment, in particular highlighting the work of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment and their commitment to the Employer Pays Principle.

 Specific recommendations that emanate from the presentation and the discussions will be reflected in the outcome of the regional preparatory meeting. 

Update on CHRB Timeframe

18 August 2016.

Since launching the Pilot Benchmark in March 2016, we have been hard at work putting the methodology into practice by researching and engaging with the top 100 companies selected for the Pilot Benchmark.  

Throughout this ambitious initiative, many stakeholders have advised us to take our time and ensure that we get it right, and we have decided this is a moment to do so. During the research phase we have been pleased with level of the information found in companies own documentation and websites as well as the level of disclosure that companies have provided through the CHRB disclosure platform. Taking this into consideration we must ensure we review these expansive disclosures with rigor, and processing this amount of information is having a knock-on effect on our original timelines.

Taking this into consideration we will now take additional time to our originally planned timeline and we plan to release the Pilot Benchmark results in early 2017.

This additional time will allow us to add a further review stage to our research and assurance process. This is especially important during this first Pilot Benchmark so that we are able to crosscheck all indicators and ensure that the results that we present are robust, credible and provide a fair and scrutinised analysis.

We will continue to provide updates over the upcoming months.

Read the full newsletter here.

IHRB’s Chief Executive Gives Evidence to UK Joint Committee on Human Rights

20 July 2016.

On 16th June 2016, the Joint Committee on Human Rights in the UK Parliament announced an inquiry into human rights and business in the UK. The Inquiry is being undertaken in order to consider progress by the Government in implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights through the UK National Action Plan published in 2013 and revised in May 2016.

IHRB made a submission to the Inquiry offering feedback to the questions listed in the inquiry's terms of reference.

On 20th July 2016, members of the Joint Committee convened to hear evidence from experts. IHRB's Chief Executive John Morrison, CORE Coalition's Marilyn Croser and Amnesty International UK's Peter Frankental were called to ellaborate on each of their written submissions and respond to the Joint Committee's questions. 

The session was filmed and can be viewed here

Five Years On - IHRB Reflects on the State of Business and Human Rights

16 June 2016.

On June 16th 2011, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights. The Guiding Principles were unprecedented on many levels, including by reaffirming and clarifying state duties to protect against abuses involving business and by authoritatively setting out for the first time the human rights responsibilities of all companies. 

Five years on, IHRB reflects on the state of business and human rights, through a series of podcasts and commentaries.

The author of the UN Guiding Principles on the State of Business and Human Rights 

In a wide-ranging conversation with IHRB's Salil Tripathi at his office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the former UN Special Representative on Business & Human Rights Professor John Ruggie notes that the experimentation and practice that has taken place over the last five years by a range of organisations to elaborate the application of the Guiding Principles for different actors and sectors has been extremely positive, but also highlights the need for further breadth and depth moving forward. | Listen now


Views on Progress from IHRB's Partners & Staff

Myanmar

Director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), Vicky Bowman reflects on the translation challenges of bringing the UN Guiding Principles into Myanmar practices. | Read now

Colombia

Executive Director of CREER, the centre for responsible business in Colombia which IHRB helped to found, Luis Fernando de Angulo highlights the swift evolution of business and human rights locally, albeit occuring in waves. | Read now

Kenya

IHRB's Programme Manager for East Africa, Rose Kimotho, discusses the promising but unequal levels of implementation across the 'protect', 'respect' and 'remedy' legs in Kenya. | Read now


Reflections from the Field

India

In this podcast, Nityanand Jayaraman discusses activism and the struggle for justice in India. | Listen now

Bosnia

Chris Bennett speaks on Bosnia-Herzegovina and multi-stakeholder approaches in post-conflict societies. | Listen now

Bangladesh

Syeda Rizwana Hasan on Bangladesh and preventing impacts in weak governance areas. | Listen now

$4.8 Trillion Investor Coalition Announces Support for the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark

14 June 2016.

A coalition of over 80 investors, with $4.8 trillion in assets under management, has pledged support for the creation of the world’s first wide-scale benchmark on companies’ human rights policies, processes and practices, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB).

The investors included in the statement are some of the world’s largest and most influential investors including: Boston Common Asset Management, Aviva Investors, APG Asset Management, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Church of Sweden and Australian Ethical Investment.  A full list of investor signatories can be found below.

This coalition of investors originally came together in February 2015 to lend its support to the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, as a critical means to advance meaningful disclosure of companies’ human rights performance. Given recent momentum in this area, the group has decided to add its support to the CHRB by amending the UNGPRF Investor Statement to include the following paragraph:

“The undersigned signatories welcome and support the creation of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) which has announced it will provide a free public ranking of major companies starting with particularly exposed sectors and based on information published through the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework and other public information from and about companies on human rights issues. We encourage companies to make proper disclosure under the UNGP Reporting Framework.”’ 

The $4.8tn investor coalition led by Boston Common argues that those companies that do not proactively assess and manage human rights issues face potential legal, reputational and other financial risks; while those who meet the ‘corporate responsibility to respect human rights’ gain competitive advantage.

Lauren Compere, Managing Director at Boston Common Asset Management said:

“Investors want to protect value by knowing human rights risks are being monitored and managed by the companies they invest in. The CHRB is a critical tool, creating the analytical environment for investors to understand what good corporate human rights performance looks like. CHRB further supports the need for companies to use disclosure frameworks such as the UNGP Reporting Framework to know and show how they are respecting human rights."

Steve Waygood, Chair of the CHRB Steering Committee and Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors, said:

“There is no question that human rights issues are material to the financial performance of some companies. I welcome the support this $4.8 trillion investor coalition has given to the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark today. This statement once again signals a desire by investors to drive improved corporate human rights performance around the world through greater accessibility of transparent information and performance ratings.”

Read the Investor Statement in full on the CHRB website

Become a Friend of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark

16 May 2016.

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB), an initiative driven by Aviva Investors, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Calvert Investments, Eiris, IHRB and VBDO to create the world's first wide-scale benchmark on corporate human rights performance.

As the CHRB approaches the release of the pilot benchmark in November 2016, it is calling out globally for "friends" of the Benchmark to provide financial support. In doing so, you could be one of the first to support this unique and important initiative, demonstrating your commitment to advancing change in the business and human rights field. Donations by Friends of the CHRB will be directly contributing to the sustainability of the CHRB and its establishment long-term.

Find out how to become a Friend of the CHRB here

Pwint Thit Sa - Transparency in Myanmar Enterprises (TiME) Survey 2016

06 May 2016.

MCRB will examine approximately 100 large Myanmar companies drawing on the list of top 1,000 income and commercial tax payers published by the Internal Revenue Department (IRD) and scoring each company on the basis of the 35 questions. This research is inspired by Transparency International’s TRAC surveys of global companies and adapted to Myanmar circumstances.  

The current list of companies being examined is downloadable on the MCRB website.

MCRB would be interested to receive stakeholder feedback about the specific on-the-ground operations of companies featured in the 2016 survey. All inputs will be treated in confidence. The deadline for receiving comments is 31 May, although MCRB is interested in specific feedback throughout the year about company performance concerning human rights.

Visit the MCRB website to find out more about participating in the survey.
 

Introducing the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment

04 May 2016.

The Coca-Cola Company, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IKEA and Unilever today in London launched a new collaboration, the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, focused on promoting ethical recruitment and combating the exploitation of migrant workers in global supply chains across industries. 

The five founding companies have committed to the ‘Employer Pays Principle’, which states that no worker should pay for a job - the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer.

For many people around the world, the search to earn a better living leads them to find work away from home. The promise of higher wages abroad, however, can in some cases result in exploitation, with many low-skilled workers in particular paying high recruitment fees, incurring large debts, and potentially finding themselves in situations of forced labour.

The Leadership Group, supported by IHRB, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, International Organization for Migration and Verite, will be championing the ‘Employer Pays Principle’ within their own industries and beyond, calling for similar commitments from other companies to drive positive change across all sectors.

The Leadership Group will also work together over the coming months to develop a practical roadmap to underpin this call to action, a valuable tool for companies as they report under the UK Modern Slavery Act, California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and the US Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

IHRB would like to thank Humanity United and GE Foundation for their generous support of this initiative.

Commenting on today's launch, members of the Leadership Group remarked: 

“The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment has a bold aim - the eradication of worker fees over the coming decade. These five companies are setting an important new business standard and a challenge to other companies to prohibit fee-charging in their operations.”
John Morrison, Executive Director of IHRB, the organisation convening the Leadership Group
“The right to freely choose employment is severely eroded when workers have to pay recruitment fees simply to get a job. The Employer Pays Principle has the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of workers around the world, which is good for communities and good for business.”
Brent Wilton, Global Workplace Rights Director at The Coca-Cola Company
“At IKEA we believe that we have an important role to play in helping people to lift themselves out of poverty and to provide a better life for themselves and their children. By joining with others to call for the adoption of the Employer Pays Principle, and by taking action ourselves, we want to contribute to creating positive change, ensuring the ethical recruitment of migrant workers and a brighter future for millions of people globally.”
Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group
“Business can play a pivotal role in combatting the exploitation of migrant workers, but only if we work collectively to achieve this goal. The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment will focus on encouraging broad implementation of the Employer Pays principle across industries.”
Lara Birkes, Chief Sustainability Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
“Workers in global supply chains deserve fair treatment. They should not have to pay to work. Collaboration among leading companies on this issue is critical to inspire and achieve the scale and momentum needed to advance the responsible recruitment of migrant workers globally.”  
Stuart Pann, Chief Supply Chain Officer, HP Inc.
“Migrant workers are an integral part of global business yet the abusive use of migrant labour is prominent in many sectors. Businesses must come together and drive practices that empower rather than penalise the most vulnerable”.
Marcela Manubens, Global Vice President for Social Impact, Unilever

IHRB Welcomes Susan Morgan as Research Fellow

16 March 2016.

IHRB is delighted to welcome Susan Morgan as an Research Fellow focusing on the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. 

Susan has twenty years’ experience working in both the public and private sectors. For the last fifteen years she has worked with or in the technology sector. Now a London based freelance consultant, she was the first Executive Director of the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on the responsibilities of technology companies to protect the free expression and privacy rights of their users when receiving government requests around the world. Susan worked previously with BT including six years focused on corporate responsibility, leading on strategy, policy and public reporting.  

Susan will be helping IHRB develop a new project on Big Data and Privacy. This includes the launch of a new multi-stakeholder Leadership Platform of business leaders, technologists, civil society, academia and experts on Big Data, to play an important role in shaping debates and raising awareness about human rights responsibilities linked to Big Data.

Susan said,

"Big data promises huge potential opportunities, but there are challenges too, particularly in relation to privacy. I'm delighted to work with IHRB to assist in charting a practical way forward to help benefits be realised and rights protected."

IHRB's Executive Director John Morrison said:

“We are thrilled Susan has joined IHRB’s ICT team. Susan’s experience in the ICT sector and at the helm of the Global Network Initiative will provide valuable expertise and direction as IHRB begins working on such an exciting topic as Big Data.”

IHRB-University of Queensland Sustainable Minerals Institute Partnership on the Extractive Sector

14 March 2016.

The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) and IHRB have forged closer ties, signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the extractives sector and human rights.

The SMI is a leading research centre committed to improving the social performance of the resources industry globally. The IHRB is an international think tank on business and human rights, working to shape policy, advance practice and strengthen accountability of governments and business.

SMI Director Professor Chris Moran said the agreement brought benefits to both organisations:

“UQ will benefit in being able to work closely with some of the world’s leading experts in human rights and business, while we are able to share our expertise in the global mining industry.”  

The MOU outlines various ways in which the two organisations will collaborate, including joint research and information exchange on the extractives sector, convening sector and human rights experts on key challenges and dilemmas, and professional sabbaticals and research support for both Institutes. 

SMI’s Associate Professor Deanna Kemp, who leads the Institute’s Extractives and Communities Program is also a board member of IHRB, said the agreement reflected the strength of UQ’s work in community relations and human rights:

“We work with mining companies around the world and engage with them for better outcomes on sustainable development and human rights.” 

IHRB’s Executive Director John Morrison said he was delighted to formalise IHRB’s relationship with UQ:

“IHRB will be able to contribute our knowledge and experience of human rights and effective approaches to preventing impacts on people to the strong network the Sustainable Minerals Institute has with the sector.” 

IHRBs Scott Jerbi Named 2016 LSE Research Fellow

17 February 2016.

Scott will study the role of public-private partnerships as a central element in strategies to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

IHRB's Senior Advisor Scott Jerbi has been awarded the 2016 David Davies of Llandinam (Dinam) Research Fellowship in the International Relations Department of the London School of Economics.

As the 2016 Dinam Research Fellow, Scott will study the role of public-private partnerships as a central element in strategies to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by world leaders in September 2015.

Many of the SDGs, including on decent work, industrialization, taxation and energy will require active and responsible business engagement to be achieved. However, the process to agree the new global development agenda saw limited debate concerning core expectations for business conduct that aligns with the vision set out in the SDGs as well as the necessary terms for effective collaboration between states, business and civil society.

While some states increasingly pursue partnership-oriented governance strategies, many continue to see such approaches as potentially threatening to state authority as well as limited in tangible impacts.

Scott’s research will seek to identify where common ground may exist among states and other actors concerning public-private partnerships to advance sustainable development objectives, including how they should be established and evaluated and how core principles of the responsible business agenda may be integrated into implementation plans.

The aim of the Fellowship is to bridge divisions between theorists and practitioners and support the study of international relations which directly links the application of expertise in international relations to policy development and execution. It seeks to advance understanding between academics, policy-makers and practitioners and thus ensure that studies are rooted in the real world and concerned with practical, actionable outcomes.

ILO, ITUC, IOE & OHCHR Issue Joint Statement on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights

17 November 2015.

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have issued a joint statement in advance of a two-day meeting on Human Rights and Mega-Sporting Events organized by IHRB, the Government of Switzerland and Wilton Park. 

The joint statement highlights the pressing need for a more comprehensive approach to managing social risks and adverse human rights impacts arising from mega-sporting events and affirms the commitment of the four organisations to advancing dialogue and joint action with all actors in this area.

IHRB at the 2015 UN Annual Forum on Business & Human Rights

13 November 2015.

The 2015 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights takes place in Geneva from 16 to 18 November. IHRB is co-organising, moderating or speaking at a number of sessions.

The 2015 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights takes place in Geneva from 16 to 18 November. IHRB is co-organising, moderating or speaking at a number of sessions. You can follow our discussions during the Forum on Twitter and Facebook, and watch many of the sessions live streamed.
 

Room XX Multi-stakeholder action across “Protect, Respect and Remedy” – Addressing specific impacts
Vicky Bowman, Director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, which IHRB co-founded with the Danish Institute for Human Rights, will be speaking about multi-stakeholder engagement in Myanmar’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone. Watch live.
Room XXI Working together to promote due diligence and protect workers’ rights during recruitment
IHRB’s John Morrison will moderate this panel discussing the main standards, approaches and trends to regulating labour recruitment and the obstacles to effective due diligence by companies.
 
Room XXI Launch of Business and Human Rights Journal
This event will discuss the role of research and scholarship in promoting business respect for human rights. IHRB’s Salil Tripathi and Motoko Aizawa co-authored an article on the Rana Plaza factory collapse for the inaugural edition.

 
15:00-16:20 Room XXIII Measuring and tracking businesses' implementation of the Guiding Principles
IHRB’s Margaret Wachenfeld will be speaking on behalf of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark initiative and discussing methodological, operational and strategic questions related to measuring respect for human rights. Watch live
 
16:40-18:00 Room XX Identifying solutions to key human rights challenges associated with Mega Sporting Events (MSEs)
IHRB’s John Morrison will moderate this session on the human rights challenges confronting sports governing bodies, host governments and delivery bodies, as well as the sponsors, broadcasters, commercial partners and athletes that put on these events. Watch live.
10:00-11:20 Room XX Addressing the challenges that Human Rights Defenders face in the context of business activities in an age of a shrinking civil society space
IHRB’s Salil Tripathi will moderate this panel on the critical role of human rights defenders in ensuring accountability for corporate involvement in human rights abuses. Watch live.

Related publications and materials
 
10:00-11.30  Room XII Business relationships learning dialogue: Implementing the corporate responsibility to respect human rights beyond supply chain
IHRB’s Haley St. Dennis will be speaking on this panel focused on implementing thecorporate responsibility to respect human rights in diverse business relationships, with a particular focus on issues of leverage, contracting and remedy.
11:40-13:00 Room XX Open for Business: The new role of the private sector in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
IHRB’s Margaret Wachenfeld will be speaking on this panel, highlighting recommendations from IHRB’s latest report: “State of Play: Business and the SDGs – Mind the Gap, Challenges for Implementation”. Watch live.

CHRB-DIHR Statement on Synergies and Collaboration

06 September 2015.

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, an initiative driven by Aviva Investors, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Calvert Investments, Eiris, IHRB and VBDO, to create the world's first wide-scale benchmark on corporate human rights performance, has jointly published with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) a statement of synergies. The statement relates to the synergies between the CHRB and DIHR's Platform for Human Rights Indicators for Business

The CHRB and the DIHR will work together in 2015 to review how the HRCA indicators relate to the benchmarking framework to measure company performance and alignment with international human rights standards. They will also collaborate more generally on raising awareness of approaches and initiatives to improve the measurement of business respect for human rights.

Read the Statement of Synergies here.

Diverse Coalition Commits to Making Human Rights Central to Mega-Sporting Events

20 June 2015.

Mega sporting events have the potential to help catalyze greater respect for human rights and international labour standards. The efforts of public and private actors involved in the delivery of these events contribute to a range of benefits including new jobs, improved infrastructure such as public transport and digital access, increased tourism and the promotion of healthy life styles. Each major sporting event has the potential to bring lasting positive social impacts.

At the same time, there are significant human rights risks and challenges at every stage of the lifecycle of a major sporting event.  More effective strategies are needed to prevent, mitigate and remedy abuses of human rights and labour standards associated with major sporting events, from planning through to legacy.

To address these challenges, a diverse group of stakeholders has come together to advance dialogue and cooperation. 

Download the statement in the panel to the right to learn more about the group's plans and aims.

CHRB-UNGPRF Frequently Asked Questions

05 June 2015.

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, an initiative driven by Aviva Investors, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Calvert Investments, Eiris, IHRB and VBDO, to create the world's first wide-scale benchmark on corporate human rights performance, has jointly published with the creators of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the two initiatives. 

Read the FAQs here.

Launch of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark

03 December 2014.

IHRB, together with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRCC), Aviva Investors, Calvert InvestmentsEiris and VBDO, today announce the launch of the first wide-scale project to rank companies on their human rights performance.

A total of 500 of the top global companies from four key sectors – Agriculture, ICT, Apparel, and Extractives – will initially be researched and ranked.

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) will harness the competitive nature of the markets to drive better human rights performance, namely through developing a transparent, publicly available and credible benchmark. The Benchmark portal will be housed on the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre website.

Investors, companies, governments and consumers are increasingly aware of the impacts of business on human rights. Two years after the Tazreen factory fire and one year after Rana Plaza, the Bangladesh Accord has driven industry transparency, publically reporting on factory inspections; this year, Coca-Cola and Pepsi committed to zero tolerance policies on land grabs; the EU is soon to restrict exports on spyware surveillance technologies due to human rights concerns; and US conflict mineral legislation has led to a 65 percent drop in armed groups’ profits from the trade.

Public transparency, combined with public rankings of companies’ performance, is proving a powerful tool in driving a ‘race to the top’. The Access to Medicine Index has brought advances in the pharmaceutical industry’s approach to providing and pricing medicines for poor people suffering from diseases from HIV/AIDS to tuberculosis.  Oxfam’s Behind the Brands has created competition between 10 food and beverage giants to eliminate land grabs, enhance the status of women in their supply chains, and reduce carbon emissions.

Over the next three years the six organisations, making up the CHRB Steering Group, will conduct a worldwide consultation on the methodology and results with diverse stakeholders, and incrementally collect and release information on 500 companies’ human rights performance. Powerful information will be made available through an open source, online portal to empower the range of business and human rights advocates among companies, investors, governments, local communities and NGOs.

When achieved, this will be an extraordinary breakthrough moment for the business and human rights field, creating greater corporate accountability, incentivising and requiring changes in business behaviour and creating greater leverage for policy-makers, investors, communities and consumers.

“The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark will be the first publicly available ranking of corporate policies, processes and performance on human rights. It will seek to assess the reality behind companies’ public commitments, including what they do to address negative impacts when things go wrong, and what kinds of collaborations they undertake to scale their resources."John Morrison, Institute for Human Rights and Business
“Our Benchmark will introduce a positive competitive environment as companies try to race to the top of the annual ranking. It will also shine a light on those where performance needs to improve. It took more than 60 years from the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights before the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were developed.  We believe that within six years of their approval, we can help to make these Guiding Principles routine corporate practice through the development and use of the Benchmark."Steve Waygood, Aviva Investors
“Our ranking will reward good practice by companies, and create a major incentive for poor performers to improve rapidly. The ranking will be a tool for campaigners, trade unions, investors and governments to encourage and press companies to deliver respect, dignity and essential freedoms to their workers, neighbouring communities, and the societies in which they invest."Phil Bloomer, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
“The process of benchmarking and then ranking companies on their commitment and performance will reinforce the inescapable proposition that companies in all industries must respect human rights. Moreover, as investors become increasingly aware of human rights-related risk across sectors and asset classes, this framework will be a critical due diligence tool for evaluating how companies are managing those risks."Bennett Freeman, Calvert Investments
“We are delighted to make our long-standing experience of creating ratings, and the criteria on which they are built, available to this project. Our clients and other responsible investors are raising a growing number of human rights issues with companies, and by taking data out from behind a pay wall this project has the potential for much greater impact."Peter Webster, EIRIS
“As a sustainable investment forum, VBDO has 20 years' experience with measuring company CSR performance in benchmarks. In our company engagements, we have noticed that public benchmarks make sustainability topics more concrete for companies and create a 'race to the top'. We expect the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark to do the same."Giuseppe van der Helm, VBDO
“By building a comparative assessment of company performance on human rights, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark initiative creates useful and needed momentum for corporate respect for human rights, and ultimately accountability."Amol Mehra, Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) - a coalition of human rights, environmental, labor, and development organizations who welcomed the launch.

About the Partners:

Aviva Investors is a global asset management business dedicated to building and providing client focused solution and part of Aviva plc, one of the UK's largest insurance services providers.

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is an international NGO that tracks the human rights impacts (positive & negative) of over 5600 companies in over 180 countries making information available on its seven language website.

Calvert Investments is an investment management firm and leader in sustainable and responsible investment strategies.

EIRIS is a global leader in the provision of environmental, social, governance (ESG) research for responsible investors.

The Institute for Human Rights and Business is a global “think and do” tank that provides a trusted, impartial space for dialogue and independent analysis to deepen understanding of human rights challenges and the appropriate role of business.

VBDO is the Dutch association of investors for sustainable development that aims at a sustainable capital market, considering financial as well as non-financial ESG criteria.

Robinson and Ruggie Open Letter to FIFA on Human Rights

11 June 2014.

In a letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and John Ruggie, former UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, on behalf of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), urge football’s governing body to fully integrate human rights considerations into its decision making.

Robinson, IHRB Patron, and Ruggie, Chair of IHRB's International Advisory Board, call on FIFA and all sports governing bodies to make an explicit commitment to respect human rights and establish a strategy for integrating relevant international standards such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into their operations.

Over the past year, IHRB has been researching the human rights impacts of mega-sporting events and recently launched a dedicated website which provides a range of resources for all actors involved in planning and delivering such events.

Robinson and Ruggie stress that:

“All countries face human rights challenges, but more effective and sustained due diligence is clearly needed with respect to decisions about host nations and how major sporting events are planned and implemented.”

Statement from the B Team 12 Months on from Rana Plaza

28 April 2014.

A year ago today, over 1,100 Bangladeshi garment workers lost their lives when, despite prior warnings, the building in which they were working collapsed. Over 2,500 more were injured in the disaster, some crippled for life.

This statement is issued by The B Team.

The victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, most of them young women, were part of a global supply chain that brings affordable garments to markets around the world. This was not the first event of its kind in Bangladesh, and Bangladesh is not the only country where industrial disasters have occurred.

As members of The B Team, we recognise that these incidents violate basic human rights, they are avoidable and they must stop.

We know that change is possible. More than a century ago, industrial disasters in Great Britain and the United States became the focus of national campaigns that led to improved working conditions and greater societal concern for worker safety. Problems such as blocked exits, locked doors and inadequate inspections of factory conditions were addressed generations ago in these parts of the world.

In response to the Rana Plaza disaster, two separate initiatives involving global apparel brands have taken shape over the past year – ‘The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Safety” and the ‘Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety’. Both are a critical part of wider efforts by governments, international organisations, domestic manufacturers and local civil society organisations to ensure such accidents do not happen again. These initiatives, as well as the Rana Plaza Arrangement, which is the only coordinated and systematic approach to ensure all the victims, their families and dependents will receive entitlements to cover their losses, are clear steps in the right direction, but more is needed.

Ultimately, we believe business should be a driving force for wellbeing. That is why we have committed to listen to the needs of employees throughout our businesses and supply chains and to make sure they are treated with dignity. This means building an environment in which all employees can thrive, in line with international human rights and labor standards and where workers receive a fair proportion of the value they create through a decent living wage.

While immediate action by companies is absolutely necessary, their efforts alone cannot achieve a sufficient response. Another Rana Plaza could happen any day and workers around the world remain at risk. Current attempts to address worker safety are too dependent on audit- led approaches. These are incremental at best, and unlikely to bring about the systemic changes needed.

To ensure decent work for all, concerted action is required at multiple levels.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide an overarching authoritative framework for ensuring businesses everywhere are respectful of human rights. They reaffirm existing state obligations and make clear that all companies have a responsibility to respect human rights throughout their operations and supply chains. In Bangladesh this means retailers that rely on a wide network of suppliers for production must know and accept responsibility for addressing factory safety throughout their supply chains.

Western governments and international institutions must also invest more to bolster the Government of Bangladesh, which needs to create a culture of safety, not only through effective industry regulation, inspection and monitoring of factories, but also by strengthening infrastructure. Governments must also accelerate their efforts around the world and at a local level to improve regulations; ensuring companies everywhere adhere to universally accepted human rights.

Businesses and their shareholders must play a bigger role in improving factory infrastructure and paying fair wages to workers – recognising their right to form unions and bargain collectively. They must also put the right safeguards in place throughout their operations and provide training and support to principal suppliers and to all subcontractors to help them meet international standards. This will require long-term business commitments to Bangladesh that will enable shared approaches to addressing these challenges.

Civil society has an equally crucial role, not only in providing legal aid and support to workers, but also in encouraging citizens to vote with their wallets, demanding that their favourite brands treat workers with dignity. Increasing consumer pressure will help ensure businesses are accountable for providing a safe working environment, where workers can form trade unions to collectively negotiate for improvements in their pay and conditions.

And where protection gaps exist, business, unions, civil society, and governments must come together to address abuses by developing adequate remedies that reach all garment factories in Bangladesh without undermining existing legal frameworks and protection mechanisms.

If such levers can be used, we can move much closer to a system that puts inclusive prosperity and long-term sustainability before short-term profits.

No worker should ever have to fear for her or his life while on the job. Our inaction has given tacit consent to a system that leaves far too many workers vulnerable in the face of unacceptable risks.

We must move faster to bring about these changes. It will require bold action, courageous leadership and new business models. We all have a role to play. Rana Plaza must not fade in our memory, or become just another tragedy among many – but remain a clarion call for global collective action to protect human rights regardless of the financial cost.


The B Team wishes to acknowledge the valuable support of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB). Visit IHRB.org to learn more about the Institute’s work to advance the business and human rights agenda around the world.


“The lessons of Rana Plaza go beyond the textiles and garment sector, and beyond Bangladesh. The globalization of economic forces will lead to further investments in far corners of the world where work practices are different and regulations are weak or not enforced. States must do more to protect workers but companies – both local and global – have a responsibility to respect human rights and conduct rigorous human rights due diligence to ensure that the lives and security of those working in their supply chains are safe and protected. And when, as in the case of Rana Plaza, there is failure to protect and respect human rights in the workplace then governments and companies must ensure effective remedies, including adequate compensatory payments.”

- Professor John Ruggie - Former UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights

“We must make the Garment Industry exploitation-free, ensuring safety and dignity for all workers. They contribute so much to our economies, and help buying-companies and factory- owners make profits, but are amongst some of the most vulnerable people in the world. They get only a tiny part of production cost, still much tinier portion of price. If all stakeholders are committed to improving their lives, there is no reason why it should not happen.”

- Professor Muhammad Yunus - B Leader, Nobel Peace Laureate and Founder of Grameen Bank, Dhaka, Bangladesh

“Business can only – and should only – exist if it is truly economically, environmentally and socially sustainable and where human rights are respected and upheld. This is not someone else’s agenda – this is where we all get judged by our actions and rightly so.”

- Paul Polman - B Leader and CEO, Unilever

IHRB Joins the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

17 March 2014.

Flickr/katerkate

The Voluntary Principles initiative (VPs) was established in 2000 to guide companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that encourages respect for human rights. Participants in the VPs initiative include companies, governments and civil society as well as a group of observing organizations, which includes the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Finance Corporation and the International Council of Mining and Metals.

Members of IHRB staff, research fellows and board members have been actively engaged with the VPs process at various stages. IHRB is committed to the initiative’s objectives and to connecting its work to ongoing IHRB programmes and activities.

As IHRB’s Executive Director John Morrison noted:

“We are honored to be joining all those involved in furthering the mission of this important multi-stakeholder initiative in the human rights field. Our interest in becoming an observer to the VPs initiative at this time is in part connected to our developing work with the emerging oil and gas sector in Kenya and East Africa through the ‘Nairobi Process: A Pact for Responsible Business’. This new project being developed by IHRB in cooperation with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, was launched in 2013 with the mission of applying human rights due diligence to the very early stages of oil and gas exploration in Kenya. All actors involved in the Nairobi Process have highlighted the need to prioritize capacity-building and effective action on security related issues. We have already promoted the VPs as providing critical guidance for companies, government officials and civil society actors. Our plans for the Nairobi Process include further awareness raising on the VPs and other relevant standards and we welcome opportunities to collaborate with VPs participants in these efforts.”

IHRB looks forward to taking part in the upcoming VPs annual plenary meeting in Switzerland and to working with the UK Government as it assumes the chair of the VPs initiative for the coming year.

European Commission Publishes Three Sector Guides on Human Rights by IHRB and Shift

01 June 2013.

In June 2013, the European Commission issued three Guides on implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for Employment & Recruitment agencies, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) companies and Oil & Gas companies, written by IHRB and Shift.

What the Guides Do:

Each Guide offers practical advice on how to implement the corporate responsibility to respect human rights in day-to-day business operations in each industry through step-by-step guidance. At each step, they summarise what the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights expect, offer a range of approaches and examples for how to put them into practice, and link users to additional resources that can support their work. They are intended to help companies “translate” respect for human rights into their own systems and cultures.

How the Guides were Developed:

The Guides were developed over 18 months by IHRB and Shift through extensive research and multistakeholder consultation with representatives from the three industries as well as governments, trade unions, civil society, academia and other experts.

Commenting on the launch, the European Commission and members of the project team's Expert Advisory Committee said:

Respect for human rights is part of the recipe for modern business excellence. This guidance meets global standards agreed in the UN while leaving enterprises the necessary flexibility to adapt their approach to their own particular circumstances.
Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission, Enterprise and Industry
Business is an increasingly important player in the world of human rights. This guidance aims to help enterprises in Europe and elsewhere to meet the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, as defined by the UN and strongly endorsed by the EU.
Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were derived, on the one hand, from universal human rights standards and, on the other, from real world experience. Human rights, like life itself, cannot be reduced to a checklist or to simple slogans. It is only through understanding and reflection that the GPs can become “simple” and applicable. These Guidance publications are designed to further that process.
Jim Baker, Council of Global Unions
Dozens of sectoral guides and tools on how to implement the UN Guiding Principles are being produced. This is a solid indicator of the relevance and high demand for the Guiding Principles. Now users want to know whether the practical guides are actually aligned with Guiding Principles. A best practice example of such alignment are the new EC Sectoral Guidelines. They capture the essence of the Guiding Principles faithfully, they refer to the interdependence of the State, corporate and remedy pillars, and were formulated after technical research, expert consultations and multi-stakeholder dialogue processes with State, business and civil society actors from across the globe. They will no doubt be a valuable source for practitioners and affected persons alike.
Alexandra Guáqueta, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
The three sector guides are comprehensive compendiums which contribute to helping companies in those sectors and beyond gain understanding of the scope of the Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
Brent Wilton, International Organisation of Employers (IOE)

UK Parliamentary Motion Welcoming Staff Wanted Initiative

27 June 2012.

The UK Parliament in Early Day Motion 176 has recognised concerns about the exploitation of workers, particularly agency staff employed by UK hotels, and welcomed the Staff Wanted Initiative (SWI). SWI has been launched by Anti-Slavery International and IHRB, and seeks to raise awareness of the challenges facing the industry regarding fair treatment of staff and agency workers. It reminds all hotels, big and small, of the need for effective human rights due diligence to ensure that they are not complicit in abuse and to ensure that working practices respect their workforce, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

EDM 176 reads: 

That this House recognises concerns around the exploitation of workers, particularly agency staff employed by UK hotels; welcomes, in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Staff Wanted Initiative, launched by Anti-Slavery International and the Institute for Human Rights and Business, which seeks to raise awareness of the challenges facing the industry with regard to fair treatment of staff and agency workers; and reminds all hotels, big and small, of the need for effective human rights due diligence to ensure that they are not complicit in abuse and to ensure that working practices respect their workforce, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

European Commission Selects Three Sectors for New Guidance on Business & Human Rights

04 February 2012.

Flickr/87913776@N00

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry announced in January 2012 that the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) together with Shift had been selected to develop sector-specific guidance on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which forms part of the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UN Guiding Principles were endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011.

The European Commission identified the development of this guidance as one of the priority actions in its recent communication on corporate social responsibility.

On 14 February 2012 the Commission announced that the employment and recruitment agencies sector, the information and communication technology (ICT) sector and the oil and gas sector will be the focus of the year-long project and ultimate guidance. Together, the sectors face a wide range of significant human rights challenges that could benefit from detailed guidance focused on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. Guidance to be developed under the project will also have added value to businesses from other sectors facing similar human rights related issues.

The selection of the three sectors for the project was based on objective criteria and rigorous analysis carried out by Shift and IHRB throughout January 2012, including through a public consultation where careful consideration was given to submissions made by companies, industry federations, NGOs and private individuals.

The guidance developed through this project will be based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and will address the particular contexts and challenges faced by each of the three sectors in implementing the corporate responsibility to respect human rights.

Extensive consultations with all concerned stakeholder groups are planned as part of the project process, and IHRB and Shift are coordinating this process on behalf of the European Commission. Updates on the project, including drafts of relevant documents, will be posted to the website as they occur.

Any organisations or individuals wishing to submit comments or questions in relation to the project can email sectorguidance@ihrb.org.

IHRB and Shift Selected by European Commission to Develop Guidance for Three Sectors

10 January 2012.

Flickr/87913776@N00

This week the European Commission announced that the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and Shift have been selected to support a new project to develop guidance for select industry sectors on implementing the corporate responsibility to respect human rights.

In June 2011, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry announced that it was developing the project, which takes forward a key objective of the European Commission’s new policy on Corporate Social Responsibility, published in October 2011, involving support for implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The project, to be carried out during 2012, will result in three sector-specific guides, developed in close coordination with selected industry sectors and other stakeholders.

All stakeholders are invited to submit their suggestions for the choice of sectors by emailing sectorguidance@ihrb.org by:
6pm CET on 27 January 2012.

The final choice on the three sectors will be made by the European Commission and announced in early February 2012.

Both Shift and IHRB are delighted to be involved with this important project and are committed to a process based on active multistakeholder consultation and collaborative approaches.

Details of planned consultations will be posted on the website as the work develops.

Institutional Roles and Coordination in Land Access and Acquisition

15 June 2017 Nairobi, Kenya

Land is a critical factor in sustaining livelihoods and socio-economic wellbeing in Kenya. It is also closely linked to community identity, history and culture. Despite the country’s considerable progress with regard to land reforms, unsustainable use, irregular allocations, tensions, and conflict continue to bedevil the land sector.

The entry of mining and oil & gas companies has heightened tensions around land access and acquisition. Host communities around the country have voiced concerns around denial of community access to specific sections of their land, how tracks of land under concessions were allocated, the size and process of compensation awarded, and environmental degradation and health risks associated with resource extraction.

The 6th Extractives Sector Forum (ESF) will focus on the role of different stakeholders and institutions charged with land administration. This has been informed by lack of clarity and coordination among key extractive sector institutions and stakeholders which became a key concern during the 5th ESF in March 2017.

The discussion will seek to demystify the institutional roles and coordination with regard to land access and acquisition for extractive activities in Kenya.

Participation is by invitation and those interested to participate should contact rose.kimotho [at] ihrb.org 

Annual Leadership Forum for Responsible Recruitment

19 June 2017 Berlin, Germany

The Annual Leadership Forum for Responsible Recruitment will bring together global brands, suppliers, recruitment agencies, governments, and NGOs to examine the challenges of recruiting migrant workers and how implementing ethical recruitment is vital in protecting workers from modern slavery as well as ensuring sustainable and efficient business operations.

Hosted by the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Humanity United, and the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, the 2017 Annual Leadership Forum is comprised of three main parts:
 

Forum

19 June 2017, 09:00 – 17:00, Intercontinental Hotel, Berlin

Stakeholders from business, civil society and government will share details about their efforts to develop sustainable models of recruitment and their progress in implementing the Employer Pays Principle. Discussion will be business-led and business-focused with a key aim of raising awareness and sharing best practice.

See the Forum Portal for agenda.

 

Film Screening

19 June 2017, 17:30 – 21:00, Zoo Palast Cinema, Berlin

Following the Forum, Humanity United invite all attendees to an evening reception, canapés and a screening of the important new film The Workers Cup. This documentary goes inside the labour camps of Qatar where African and Asian migrant workers building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup compete in a football tournament of their own: The Workers Cup. After the screening there will be a panel discussing the film and the situation of migrant workers in the Gulf.

 

Business Breakfast

20 June 2017, 08:00 – 10:00, Intercontinental Hotel, Berlin

Company representatives and recruitment practitioners attending the Forum are also invited to a breakfast co-hosted with the Consumer Goods Forum. This session will focus on barriers and opportunities in implementing ethical recruitment and successful business models that can be deployed.

 

Who Should Attend?

The Forum will be of particular interest to business professionals responsible for sustainability, sourcing, supply chain management, procurement or compliance at global brands as well as their suppliers. Other attendees will include representatives of the recruitment industry, professional bodies, and trade associations.

To register your interest in attending please visit https://www.ihrb.org/alf-2017/rsvp. For further information, please contact IHRB’s Francesca Fairbairn at: franceca.fairbairn [at] ihrb.org or visit the Forum Portal.

5th Extractive Sector Forum - Land Access and Acquisition for Extractives Projects

16 March 2017 Nairobi, Kenya

Focused on land rights, this is the fifth multistakeholder convening of the Extractive Sector Forum in Kenya.  The Forum will focus on the recently enacted Community Land Act and will:

  • demarcate surface and subsurface rights
  • seek to establish if there is common approach in law and in practice
  • learn about company approaches
  • suggest innovative approaches that can be applied to move towards implementing these new legal frameworks

Participation is by invitation and those interested to participate should contact IHRB or ILEG Kenya.

4th Extractive Sector Forum - County-Level Local Content Development

23 November 2016 Lodwar, Kenya

Themed ‘County Level Local Content Development in Kenya’s Extractive Sector’, this forum is the fourth in the Extractive Sector Forum (ESF) series. The ESF convenes companies, civil society organisations and academia to discuss key concerns and emerging issues in the extractive sector in Kenya.

This ESF was prompted by suggestions from participants at the 3rd ESF in September 2016 to hold some ESF meetings at the county level, in order to enable more participation from the people, communities, companies and other stakeholders who are directly affected by extractive activities.

It is hoped that similar fora can be held in other parts of Kenya in future. To RSVP for this event, or express interest in convening a local ESF meeting, please contact ILEG Kenya.

Sporting Chance Forum

13 October 2016 Washington D.C.

IHRB, the U.S. Department of State, and Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs are co-hosting the global “Sporting Chance Forum on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights” on 13th-14th October 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Sport has a unique capacity to inspire humanity, and mega-sporting events (MSE) have great potential to positively impact the lives of people in the countries that host them.  But such large-scale events also involve significant risks to human rights and labor rights. After years of rising public concern in the arena of major global sports tournaments new collaborative efforts are needed.

With this in mind, the Forum will convene more than 130 senior officials, executives, and experts to highlight and devise effective strategies to address the human rights challenges associated with mega-sporting events at every stage of the event lifecycle, from planning through legacy. Throughout the two-day event, participants will: highlight the human rights challenges associated with mega-sporting events; take stock of efforts to promote learning and capacity building of the actors involved, and; explore ways to develop more comprehensive, consistent and inclusive approaches to managing them.

The Forum is by invitation only, but the Opening Session of the Forum will be live streamed

The Forum will be opened by Martina Navratilova, legendary Czech-American tennis champion, coach, and advocate for LGBTI and women’s rights.

Ms. Mary Robinson—former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights—will serve as the honorary chair of the Forum. 

The Opening Session will feature presentations from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Virginia Bennett, Swiss Deputy State Secretary Alexandre Fasel, International Labor Organization Deputy Director-General, Greg Vines, International Olympic Committee Member Anita DeFrantz, Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive David Grevemberg, and UNI World Athletes President Don Fehr.  

The Opening Session will also introduce the Sporting Chance Forum Principles on Respect for Human Rights in Mega-Sporting Events. These Principles – put forward by the Forum co-organisers – aim to underpin the common goal of ensuring that mega-sporting events showcasing the best in humanity are built on respect for human rights throughout their lifecycle.

Watch the opening session from 9am ET, Wednesday October 13th.

Forced Labour and Responsible Recruitment - Investor Briefing

18 October 2016 London

Forced labour is endemic in corporate supply chains. It is also often linked to migrant workers who find themselves trapped by burdensome debt owed to recruitment agents, deprived of access to their passports, and working long hours at zero or poor rates of pay.

The Institute for Human Rights and Business is co-hosting in London on 18 October 2016 from 3-5pm GMT, with KnowTheChain and Principles for Responsible Investment, a Briefing for Investors to provide investors the opportunity to hear a corporate, investor and civil society perspectives on how to address forced labour in the food and beverage industry. The event will mark the launch of KnowTheChain’s second sector benchmark analysing the efforts of 20 global food and beverage companies to address forced labour in their supply chains. It will further and shine a spotlight on recruitment practices in the sector and demonstrate examples of corporate leadership, with a focus on the work of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.

This event links with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal number 8 on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. 

This event will be held under Chatham House rules.

For more information and to register for this event please contact Felicitas Weber.

Inside the ICAR Studio with Motoko Aizawa

24 August 2016 Washington D.C.

IHRB's Motoko Aizawa will be participating in the latest speaker series organised by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) on 24 August 2016, 16:30 EST.

The “Inside the ICAR Studio” Speaker Series is an initiative to empower the next generation of advocates, lawyers, and campaigners with access to innovators and path-pavers from the human rights, labor rights and environmental justice movement.

IHRB's Managing Director for the USA, 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. Before joining IHRB, 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.

RSVP here.

Post-Election Myanmar - Context, Opportunities and Challenges for Business

22 June 2016 London

As Myanmar embarked on a historic handover of power to a democratically elected government in April, the IMF anticipated the country would be the fastest growing economy globally in 2016, with growth at 8.6%. This outlook has been tempered by the new government’s policy inexperience, as well as the military’s continued role in the political economy. What are the government’s intentions to deliver on economic reform and how will it deal with disputed foreign investment projects such as the Myitsone Dam? Will Myanmar soon be able to compete with its neighbours? And how can business activities be made to work for the long-term interests of the country?

Vicky Bowman is former UK Ambassador to Myanmar (2003-2006) and the Director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB). Prior to this, she was Global Practice Leader for External Affairs at Rio Tinto, working on human rights, transparency and resource nationalism. MCRB was launched in 2013 to encourage responsible business activities and build capacity and partnerships on business and human-rights issues. The centre publishes impartial impact assessments on industry sectors, including oil and gas, tourism, information and communications technologies, and agriculture.

This event will be chaired by Hervé Lemahieu, Research Associate for Political Economy and Security, IISS. It will take place in the fourth-floor Trafalgar Room at Arundel House, 13-15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX*.

Please join us for tea and coffee from 12pm.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Sheena Patel.

*All first time visitors to Arundel House are required to provide photographic ID (Passport, European ID card or Driver's Licence) and have their photograph taken upon arrival. This will be stored on our security system to streamline access on future visits. If you would prefer that your details are not stored, please inform reception as you exit the building. Photographic ID will be required again on your next visit to IISS.

Safeguarding Rights in the Big Data Revolution - Wilton Park

13 June 2016 Steyning

Reliance on technology has resulted in a data explosion. As individuals, we create and release data about ourselves and our activities every minute of every day. Sources of data continue to grow in variety and complexity. Experts estimate that 90% of all the data in the world was created in the last 2 years. 

Due to the scale and different kinds of data being generated, implementing safeguards for privacy and other rights has become more challenging. This issue does not solely affect ICT companies. In the near future, every company will be an ICT company to some extent, with increasing reliance on internet-enabled products and services. 

IHRB and Wilton Park have joined forces again to host an an invitation only, multi-stakeholder roundtable event, with support from Ericsson AB.

This meeting provides an opportunity to explore ways in which to ensure the potential benefits of big data are fully realised, while implementing safeguards to protect privacy, non-discrimination and other important human rights. 

Objectives

Through a mix of plenary and break out discussion, the off the record roundtable meeting will bring together up to 55 stakeholders including government, business and civil society from a range of countries in order to:

  • Explore the opportunities and risks of big data in the ICT sector and beyond.
  • Examine current regulatory regimes, including informed consent to understand the implications of big data with regard to respecting rights.
  • Identify current best practice by companies across sectors with regards to respecting privacy.

Outcomes

The proposed outcomes of the meeting include:

  • Further understanding of the practical steps companies can take to ensure rights are respected in the collection, processing, storing and sharing of big data.
  • Explore the prospect of establishing a multi-stakeholder, cross-sector leadership platform of business leaders, civil society, academia and experts with a commitment to privacy protection, increasing transparency and accountability and providing a focal point for discussion and action. 
  • A roadmap to creating a set of rights based principles, embedding privacy considerations into company practice when collecting, storing and sharing data, towards increased transparency and trust.

The UN Guiding Principles 5-Year Anniversary

16 June 2016 Washington D.C.

Reflections on the Business and Human Rights Landscape: Where have the UN GPs taken us, and where do we go next?  

When: Thursday 16 June 2016, 17:30 - 19:00 followed by a reception
 
Where: Clifford Chance, 2001 K St. NW, Washington D.C., 2006

IHRB and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) are pleased to invite you to the UN Guiding Principles Five-Year Anniversary Event.

June 16th 2016 marks the five-year anniversary of the unanimous endorsement of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the UN Human Rights Council. This event will provide a forum for dialogue and debate on what has been achieved in the area of business and human rights since the UNGPs were adopted, where gaps in protection continue to exist and what the most appropriate next steps are in the movement toward greater corporate accountability for human rights.

We expect a lively discussion among leading area practitioners in business and human rights, and look forward to reflections from a special guest.

Please join us for this multi-stakeholder dialogue, and a reception afterward, hosted by Clifford Chance. Kindly register below, and an agenda will follow. 

Register here.

Environment is Top Concern for Sustainable Tourism in Ngapali

11 May 2016 Yangon

Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) and Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), co-hosted the first ever multistakeholder workshop on responsible tourism in Ngapali from 11-13 May 2016.

The workshop was attended by around 100 local stakeholders and international beach tourism experts.

Parliamentarians from Rakhine State Parliament, local government officials from General Administration Department, Thandwe and Ngapali City Development Committees, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and the Tourist Police, hotel owners and managers, tour guides and tourism professionals, restaurant and shop owners, fishermen and local villagers were all present, as were civil society organisations.

Download the full press release and presentations on MCRB's website to learn about the main conclusions of the workshop.

Business Briefing on Responsible Recruitment

28 June 2016 London

IHRB and Verité, in association with ETI and SEDEX, are convening a business briefing on responsible recruitment. The event will address this emerging issue and provide a forum to discuss risks, challenges and solutions.

Where: Herringham Hall, Regents University, Regents Park, London NW1 4NS

When Tuesday 28th June 2016, 9.30am - 12.30pm

Who should attend?

The event will be of interest to companies operating in a variety of sectors, in particular individuals from the following functions: 

  • Procurement and supply chain managers
  • Corporate responsibility and sustainability managers
  • Human resources managers 
Why does the issue matter?

Migrant workers are a ubiquitous feature of the global economy. The ILO estimates that there are 150 million migrants in the global workforce. Nevertheless, these workers – and in particular low income migrants – are often among the most vulnerable to exploitation and human rights abuses.

The vulnerability of low income migrant workers is often exacerbated by excessive debt burdens accrued through recruitment fees. These fees, paid to agents to secure employment abroad, often represent many months’ salary and can trap migrant workers in debt bondage, understood as an indicator of forced labour.

Forward-thinking companies are extending their supplier policies and due diligence in labour supply chains to include a focus on how migrant workers are recruited and hired. Some are ensuring that all costs of recruitment are borne, not by the worker, but by the employer, known as The Employer Pays Principle

RSVP

The event is free to attend but participants must register in advance by emailing neill.wilkins@ihrb.org

Agenda
09:00 - 09:30)  Registration & Networking 
09:30 - 09:45)  Panel 1: Framing the Issue - Why is responsible recruitment an issue for business?
  • Neill Wilkins, IHRB: Migrant workers in supply chains and the case for responsible recruitment
  • Justin Bettey, Sedex: Undertaking due diligence on supply chains for labour
  • Helen McTaggart, M&S: Committing to responsible recruitment and steps to implementation
10:45 - 11:15)  Break
11:15 - 12:15)  Panel 2: Solutions - How are companies and stakeholders tackling these challenges? 
  • Cindy Berman, ETI: Where does ethical recruitment fit with corporate human rights due diligence? The importance of stakeholder engagement and worker voice in preventing modern slavery
  • Phillip Hunter, Verite: Challenges and good practice in assessing risks in labour supply chains and establishing protection mechanisms for migrant workers
  • Simon Henzell-Thomas, IKEA: Ensuring responsible recruitment and implementing the Employer Pays Principle
12:15 - 12:30)  Wrap up & Next Steps

 

Funded by: 

OECD National Contact Points and the Construction Sector

15 April 2016 London

Further details on the location will be provided upon rsvp.

The UK National Contact Point (NCP) will host a one-day workshop in central London on Friday, 15 April 2016 to share experiences and ideas about the role of the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises and the work of the NCPs in the Construction Sector.  

The UK NCP has asked the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) to facilitate this meeting. This event follows on from several previous annual London workshops, attended by NCPs, Businesses, NGOs & Civil Society, Academia & Trade Union representatives. Copies of reports from previous year’s workshops can be found below.

The 15th April 2016 workshop will be limited to only 40 places on a first come basis. 

Refreshments and lunch will be provided. 

To reserve a place, please email Neill.Wilkins@IHRB.org

Briefing on the Kenyan National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

06 April 2016 Nairobi

The Global Compact Network Kenya (GCNK) and IHRB with support from the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice in Kenya, cordially invites you to a briefing for the business community on the development of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.

In June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council, of which Kenya is a member, endorsed by consensus the UN Guiding Principles - a set of guidelines for states and companies to prevent, address and remedy adverse human rights impacts linked to business activity. Soon after, member states were called upon to engage in processes to develop National Action Plans (NAPs) as a means to implement the Guiding Principles.

The Government of Kenya through the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice is tasked with coordinating the National Action Plan process and. You are invited to join this briefing in order to: 

  • Understand the NAP process and the value of business involvement in it
  • Understand the role of business in respecting and supporting human rights 
  • Reinforce the concept of shared but differentiated responsibilities between Government and business affirmed in the ‘Protect, Respect, Remedy’ Framework of the Guiding Principles
  • Give input on their preferred ways to be consulted by Government in this process

To participate, please email the below registreation form to info@globalcompactkenya.org by Monday, 4th  April, 2016 COB.  

Attendance is free but limited to one representative per organisation. 

You can also read the press release issued by the Office of the Attorney General with background information on the NAP process.  

Launch of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment

04 May 2016 London

IHRB is pleased to invite you to the launch of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment. A collaboration between five leading global companies and expert organisations, the Leadership Group will work towards a new business model in migrant worker recruitment.

The companies in the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment have committed to adopting the ‘Employer Pays’ Principle – that the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer. 

Please join us on May 4th in London, where members of the Leadership Group and other speakers will discuss:

  • Why they have committed to abolishing worker fees  from their supply chains 
  • How they will be changing their business models to implement this commitment  
  • What they will be doing to push for similar commitments from other companies

Speakers:  

  • Kevin Hyland, UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner 
  • Stephen Lowe, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • John Morrison, Institute for Human Rights and Business
  • Brent Wilton, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Marcela Manubens, Unilever
  • Simon Henzell Thomas, IKEA
  • Shawn MacDonald, Verité
Register here.

Member companies: The Coca-Cola Company, HP Inc., IKEA, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Unilever. 

Non-corporate expert members: Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Verité.

A major cause of modern slavery in today’s global supply chains is the charging of recruitment fees to migrant workers. Leadership by companies and governments is essential to eradicate worker fees and ensure migrant workers are protected from exploitation. 

Committing to the Employer Pays Principle is a very significant step in the context of company requirements under the UK Modern Slavery Act and US legislation around forced labour and trafficking, as well as meeting responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

For more information about the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment or the launch event, please contact neill.wilkins@ihrb.org

IHRB would like to thank Humanity United and GE Foundation for their generous support of this initiative.

2nd Extractives Sector Forum - Stakeholder engagement in the Kenyan Context

20 April 2016 Nairobi

IHRB's Nairobi Process and the Institute for Law and Environmental Governance (ILEG) will host the second Extractives Sector Forum on April 20, 2016. The forum is part of ongoing dialogue between the civil society and extractives companies (oil and gas as well as mining) in Kenya and will seek to deepen understanding on stakeholder engagement in the Kenyan context and highlight lessons that have been learnt thus far. 

The second Extractive Sector Forum will be dedicated to stakeholder engagement, a widely discussed issue in the Kenyan extractive sector. IHRB and ILEG have prepared in advance a discussion paper laying out useful approaches and and pointers on good engagement practices for the sector.  More critically the paper addresses what both companies and communities should consider for successful engagement. The paper also provides useful resources for stakeholders especially companies to inform their engagement strategies. 

The event is by invitation only and those interested in participating should get in touch with Geoffrey Kerecha at

geoffrey.kerecha@ihrb.org or Duncan Okowa at d.okowa@ilegkenya.org .

Companies & Climate Change - Legal Liability and Human Rights Challenges After Paris/COP21

05 May 2016 Washington D.C.

IHRB, the International Bar Association, Washington College of Law’s Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law, Business and Human Rights Resource Center, Center for International Environmental Law and Sidney Austin LLP are pleased to invite you to attend “Companies and Climate Change: Legal Liability and Human Rights Challenges After Paris/COP21”, which is being held in Washington, D.C. from 2:30-5:30pm on May 5. 

It is an official side event of Climate Action 2016, a multi-stakeholder summit being held in Washington, D.C. on May 5-6.  Climate Action 2016 is the first major international event on the implementation of the Paris Agreement since it was adopted by governments at COP21 in 2015. Summit co-hosts include the United Nations, World Bank, University of Maryland, and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development.

Climate Change is the defining issue of our time.  In the coming decade and beyond, every major commercial enterprise will feel its impact, some more severely than others.   In the wake of the Paris Agreement, it is now clear that pressure on businesses to reduce carbon emissions and to help mitigate the impact of climate change will increase.  It is almost certain that we will see an increase in the use of laws, regulations, lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits to accelerate the pace at which businesses address climate-related issues. 

  • What can businesses expect in the coming years?
  • What liability might businesses face for economic damages and human rights impacts attributed to climate change? 
  • What can businesses do today to avert climate-related challenges tomorrow? 
  • How does doing the right thing with respect to climate change also make good business sense?  

The Companies & Climate Change event will address these and other questions. You can register to attend the event here.  

You will be asked to provide your email address before being prompted to provide basic registration information.  By registering, you will enjoy access to the two sessions from 2:30–5:30pm, but not the entire Climate Action 2016 summit.  If you are interested in attending the entire summit, please send a request to Sosseh Prom (Sosseh.Prom (at) int-bar.org), and we will be pleased to transmit it to the summit organizers.  

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