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Global Monday - Business and Human Rights

William H. Gates Hall

12:30 PM - 1:20 PM

"Corporate Respect for Human Rights in Practice: Progress, Challenges and the Road Ahead"
Mark Hodge, Executive Director, Global Business Initiative on Human Rights

Hosted by UW Law Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development and the Law & Business Association

In the past few decades, a constellation of actors, governance mechanisms, standards and ongoing challenges has evolved to try and address the adverse impacts of economic growth and corporate activity on human rights. Since the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011, there has been increased clarity about the duties of States and responsibilities of business regarding human rights in a business context. Companies are now expected to know and show that they act with due diligence and engage in remediation in relation to adverse impacts on workers, communities and other rights-holders. The question that many ask is whether increased conceptual and normative consensus has led to better business practice and good human rights outcomes for the most vulnerable in society. This talk will seek to uncover some of the developments regarding corporate respect for human rights in practice. Question to be addressed include: What, if anything, is changing within large multi-national corporations? How doe the business and human rights agenda play out in diverse parts of the world, especially when drivers for good corporate conduct are limited? What are the key challenges and issues that require attention from states, business and civil society?

Mark Hodge is Executive Director of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights. The Global Business Initiative on Human Rights’ (GBI) is a not-for-profit organization led by a core group of 18 corporations from different industries, headquartered in diverse countries and with global operations. GBI is a recognized leader in increasing awareness and commitment among the global business community, consistent with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. GBI’s vision is that all corporations in all parts of the world respect the dignity and rights of the people they impact and interact with. In his presentation Mr. Hodge will share from GBI’s work to advance human rights in a business context through cross-industry peer learning, outreach and capacity building, and by informing policy. Mark has been working in the field of sustainability since 1999. In recent years, his work on Business and Human Rights has been focused on trends, practices and actors in emerging and developing markets. In his role at GBI, he has been instrumental in initiating dialogue on human rights in China, the UAE and India (where he lived and worked for 4-years). Mark has worked closely with GBI members and other major companies in diverse sectors around implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, and so possesses a knowledge of strategies, tools, challenges and good practices being applied. Mark and GBI regularly engage in expert consultations and policy developments at the international and national level, with the aim of adding perspectives from business practitioners. Mark has undergone field visits, assessments, and workshops about human rights and business in a range of countries across Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.


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