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Business, People and Planet Three Developments This Week

In Brief

I hope these updates are helpful to you in your work. For further information on each area, click on the hyperlinked text. Please do reach out if you have any feedback. My brief summaries of reports are not intended to replace reading the full reports which I encourage you to do if you have time! I repeat, and at times adjust, language from reports in summaries – you can click on the links to the full reports for exact quotes, if you need them. And many thanks to Maddie Wolberg for supporting me in this endeavour.

Week of 10 August 2020

There are seven key problem drivers that contribute to corporate short-termism within EU publicly traded companies. A possible future EU action in the area of company law and corporate governance should pursue the objective of fostering more sustainable corporate governance and contributing to more accountability for companies’ sustainable value creation (European Commission-commissioned study)

Week of 10 August 2020 Technology business models and the rapidly evolving landscape of the technology sector create conditions enabling...

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In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers should protect the rights and health of migrant workers in their own operations and supply chains by protecting their physical and mental health, ensuring safe living and working conditions, providing economic support, implementing ethical recruitment practices, requiring suppliers to implement safeguards for their own workers and conducting due diligence in supply chains (IOM and ICC)

Week of 10 August 2020 In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers should protect the rights and health of...

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Garment workers around the world are owed in between 3.19 and 5.78 billion USD in unpaid wages for the first three months of the pandemic. Brands are asked to both sign onto the ILO-coordinated Covid-19 Action Plan for the Garment Industry and to take specific, enforceable measures to ensure workers in their supply chain will receive their wages and benefits, including back pay or severance pay (Clean Clothes Campaign)

Week of 10 August 2020 Garment workers around the world are owed in between 3.19 and 5.78 billion USD in...

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Week of 3 August 2020

Technology business models and the rapidly evolving landscape of the technology sector create conditions enabling tech companies to adversely impact human rights. Companies, their investors and policymakers must conduct human rights due diligence, increase transparency and consider the wide-reaching human rights impacts of tech products and services throughout their lifecycle (OHCHR B-Tech Project)

Week of 3 August 2020 Technology business models and the rapidly evolving landscape of the technology sector create conditions enabling...

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Investors are uniquely positioned to (and have a responsibility to) conduct due diligence and leverage their collective influence to help end state-sanctioned forced labour in Xinjiang, China; there are a number of concrete actions they can take today with civil society, industry, governments and international organisations (Investor Alliance for Human Rights)

Week of 3 August 2020 Investors are uniquely positioned to (and have a responsibility to) conduct due diligence and leverage...

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A Thai civil court has agreed to grant class-action status to a case filed by over 700 Cambodian families seeking remedy for the seizure of farmlands and razing of homes and crops by a Thai company in Cambodia; the decision by the court marks the first transboundary class-action lawsuit in Southeast Asia for adverse human rights impacts and could have implications for future corporate accountability cases in the region (Smit Tit, Hoy Mai & Others vs. Mitr Phol Co. Ltd)

Week of 3 August 2020 A Thai civil court has agreed to grant class-action status to a case filed by...

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Week of 27 July 2020

2019 saw a record 212 killings of land and environmental defenders globally, with actual killings likely higher in number. Over half of all reported killings occurred in Colombia and the Philippines; Latin America experienced the most killings of any region; and indigenous communities and women are particularly vulnerable. Killings have significantly increased in the logging sector, and are high in the mining, extractives and agribusiness sectors (Global Witness)

Week of 27 July 2020 2019 saw a record 212 killings of land and environmental defenders globally, with actual killings...

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Since 2017, over 1 million Uyghurs have been detained in ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang, China, and forced to work in factories that supply companies – including in the apparel and textiles sector and food sector. A coalition of organizations and trade unions calls on companies to trace their supply chains and end sourcing of goods produced with forced labour (Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region)

Week of 27 July 2020 Since 2017, over 1 million Uyghurs have been detained in ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang, China,...

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Companies should stop framing their responses to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as voluntary: they need to consider ways (1) to support workers participating in protests, (2) in which their own operations, products of services could be connected to racial discrimination and (3) to meaningfully inform their BLM advocacy, through engagement with affected stakeholders (Shift)

Week of 27 July 2020 Companies should stop framing their responses to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as voluntary:...

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Week of 20 July 2020

The global pandemic brings an opportunity for food retailers to recognize workers’ and farmers’ true value. A “transformative change” would include designing meaningful metrics, enabling senior ownership, incentivizing suppliers, training purchasing and supply chain management to become champions of human rights due diligence, pushing investors to take a long-term stakeholder value approach and engaging in advocacy with governments (Oxfam)

Week of 20 July 2020 The global pandemic brings an opportunity for food retailers to recognize workers’ and farmers’ true...

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The anti-corruption and business and human rights agendas are closely interconnected, with corruption-related human rights abuses occurring in particular in public procurement and concessions, land acquisition, health and pharmaceutical supply chains and the extractive sector. Companies can leverage anti-corruption compliance to embed consideration of risks to people into core business processes (UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights)

Week of 20 July 2020 The anti-corruption and business and human rights agendas are closely interconnected, with corruption-related human rights...

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Week of 6 July 2020

As the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights launches the UNGPs10+/NextDecadeBHR project, global leaders reflect on priorities, including national and EU due diligence legislation, protection of environmental and human rights defenders, access to remedy for victims, a just climate transition, the role of investors and alignment with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

Week of 6 July 2020 As the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights launches the UNGPs10+/NextDecadeBHR project, global...

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The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear appeals by Nestlé and Cargill to dismiss allegations of complicity in child labor and slavery in cocoa supply chains in Côte d’Ivoire; the Supreme Court’s decision will have significant implications on the use of the Alien Tort Statute to bring U.S. companies to court for violations of international human rights law abroad (John Doe I et al v. Nestlé et al)

Week of 6 July 2020 The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear appeals by Nestlé and Cargill to dismiss allegations...

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As the COVID-19 pandemic creates a “new normal” for countries, companies and communities globally, upcoming trends include the strengthening of the sustainable energy transition, the shift to sustainable transportation options, a greater need for improved ESG data and for credit ratings agencies to play a stronger role, and the push from citizens and consumers for governments and companies to be taking actions aimed at addressing climate change (Generation Investment Management LLP)

Week of 6 July 2020 As the COVID-19 pandemic creates a “new normal” for countries, companies and communities globally, upcoming...

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Week of 29 June 2020

With a decade left to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, businesses have made progress in creating internal awareness and setting goals on climate and decent work, but struggle to integrate the SDGs into their core business strategies and create ambitious, targeted goals for social goals. The UN Global Compact launches an urgent call to action with specific asks of all companies for the next ‘Decade of Action’.

Week of 29 June 2020 With a decade left to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, businesses have made...

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The transition to a net-zero carbon economy is necessary, but in a way that considers the rights of workers and neighbouring communities; a new benchmark reveals significant risks of harm taking place in the renewable energy sector, including killings, threats, and intimidation; land grabs; dangerous working conditions and poverty wages; and harm to indigenous peoples’ lives and livelihoods (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre)

Week of 29 June 2020 The transition to a net-zero carbon economy is necessary, but in a way that considers...

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Week of 15 June 2020

Week of 8 June 2020

Week of 1 June 2020

“The theme for World Environment Day, 5 June 2020 is biodiversity — a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world. One million plant and animal species risk extinction, largely due to human activities. … The good news is that we can reverse the trends of biodiversity loss by reimagining our relationship with nature and acting now to increase ambition and accountability for its protection. We must conserve and restore wildlife and wild spaces, change the way we produce and consume food, promote environmentally friendly infrastructure and transform economies to become custodians of nature.”

Week of 27 April 2020

Week of 10 February 2020

Week of 10 February 2020

Week of 10 February 2020

Week of 13 January 2020