2010 ENGAGING BUSINESS: ADDRESSING RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Beginning in the mid-1990s, there has been a steady rise in the expectation of companies to meet their corporate responsibility to respect human rights. In June 2008, after extensive consultations with business, governments and civil society on five continents, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Business and Human Rights, Professor John Ruggie of Harvard University, proposed a policy framework for managing business and human rights challenges. It is based on three pillars:
• The state duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business
• The corporate responsibility to respect human rights
• Greater access by victims to effective remedy, judicial and non-judicial.
The Human Rights Council was unanimous in welcoming the framework, and extended the Special Representative’s mandate by three years with the task of “operationalizing” it. The framework has been supported by the international business community.
The corporate responsibility to respect human rights means acting with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others. In addition to complying with national laws, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights is a baseline expectation for all companies in all situations. It is recognized by virtually every voluntary initiative and international multinational company guidelines, such as the ILO Tripartite Declaration and the OECD Guidelines. It is also a core principle of the UN Global Compact.
Relatively few companies have systems in place enabling them to support with confidence claims that they respect human rights. The purpose of this one-day meeting for business leaders was to bring a variety of perspectives to better understand the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. In addition to raising awareness, participants will come away from the conference understanding how to help their companies implement a due diligence process that will prevent and avoid adverse human rights impacts.
|8:30 - 8:45||Welcome and Opening Comments from The Coca-Cola Company
• Welcome - - Ed Potter, Director, Global Workplace Rights
Meeting Overview and Objectives
• Brent Wilton, Deputy Secretary General, International Organization of Employers (IOE)
|8:45 - 10:00||Opening Remarks
Alex Cummings, Chief Administrative Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
Key Note Speaker — Human Rights in the Global Economy: the Impact of Human Rights Issues on Business
Moderator: Ed Potter
John Ruggie, U.N. Special Representative on Business and Human Rights
|10:00 - 10:15||BREAK|
|10:15 - 11:45||Panel Discussion — Perspectives on Human Rights in the Global Economy: the Impact of Human Rights Issues on Business
Moderator: Brent Wilton, Deputy Secretary General, International Organization of Employers
• Business and Human Rights Perspective -- Claire O'Brien, Human Rights Adviser, Human Rights and Business Project, Danish Institute for Human Rights
• Human Rights NGO Perspective -- Chris Jochnick, Director, Private Sector Engagement, Oxfam America
• Socially Responsible Investor Perspective - - David Schilling, Director, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
|11:45 - 12:30||LUNCH|
|12:30 - 1:15||Luncheon Speaker: The Swiss Government View of Business and Human Rights
Moderator: Mike Eastman, Executive Director, Labor Law Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
• Nils Rosemann, Directorate of Political Affairs, Human Rights Policy Section
|1:15 - 2:30||Panel Discussion — How are Companies Responding to the Need to Respect Human Rights?
Moderator: Ronnie Goldberg, Executive Vice President, U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB)
• Institute on Business & Human Rights, John Morrison, Director
• General Electric, Mark Nordstrom, Senior Corporate Counsel, Labor and Employment Law
• Hewlett-Packard, Zoe McMahon, Global Program Manager, Supply Chain Social and Environmental Responsibility
• The Coca-Cola Company, Cindy Sawyer, Work Environment and Workplace Rights Director
|2:30 - 3:15||Facilitated Table Discussions
Table Discussions: Focus on key questions regarding Human Rights
• Barriers / Successful Strategies:
o What does this emphasis on “respect for Human Rights” require you to do differently?
o What barriers and challenges have you encountered or do you anticipate in conducting Human Rights due diligence?
o Which business strategies have been effective or could be effective in addressing Human Rights issues and overcoming the barriers?
o How have you dealt with the media, what lessons have you learned?
• Collect and Share Experiences:
o How should we (Employers, Employer Organizations, Governments and NGOs) collect and share experiences, information and best practices on Respecting Human Rights?
o How should be continued building relationships on this topic?
|3:15 - 4:15||Facilitated Table Discussion Report|
|4:15 - 5:00||• John Ruggie’s Reflections on the Discussion
• Q&A Session moderated by Ed Potter
• Next Steps and Closing Comments
o IOE, Brent Wilton
o USCIB, Ronnie Goldberg
o US Chamber, Mike Eastman