DiscoverThis Way Up: Unpacking human rights for business
This Way Up: Unpacking human rights for business

This Way Up: Unpacking human rights for business

Author: This Way Up: Unpacking human rights for business

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This Way Up: Unpacking human rights for business is the first podcast from Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Over the course of each mini-series, we will outline and interrogate the latest issues related to business and human rights, bringing together diverse expertise from front-line activists, civil society, companies, investors and academia. The aim? To figure out together which way is "up" - the actions we must take to ensure continually improving corporate respect for human rights.
11 Episodes
How can we advance the human rights agenda in private equity? Private capital markets have seen enormous growth in recent years, and their largely unregulated, under-scrutinised nature creates conditions for exploitative practices and human rights risks. But private equity funds have significant leverage over portfolio companies, and investors have a unique opportunity to push for better practice and advance respect for human rights. For this special episode from BHRRC and BSR, Áine Clarke is joined by Paloma Muñoz Quick from BSR, author and corporate accountability advocate Benjamin Cokelet, and Michael Musuraca, Strategic Advisor on ESG and Labour at Blue Wolf Capital. Episode glossary ESG investing – Environmental, Social & Governance PE – Private Equity LPA – Limited Partner Agreement LP – Limited Partners GP – General Partners
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) provide a globally agreed upon standard and framework for states and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses linked to business operations. Since their adoption ten years ago, the concept of human rights due diligence – which was first introduced by the UNGPs – has seen increasing uptake in policy frameworks, and is currently at the centre of legislative developments, particularly in Europe.  This episode discusses the role mandatory measures can play in further driving respect for human rights in business, what mandatory measures need to look like to be effective and how we can make mandatory due diligence work across regions. Your panel for this episode includes: Mauricio Lazala, Deputy Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Anabella Sibrián, Director, Protection International Mesoamerica Joan Carling, Global Director, Indigenous Peoples Rights International Johannes Blankenbach, EU/Western Europe Researcher & Representative, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre 
Standards on investor responsibility for human rights have evolved substantially over the past decade. Guidance including the UNGPs and OECD guidelines expect investors to clearly state, identify and address how they are respecting human rights within, and how they are using their influence over companies to ensure access to remedy. But how has this translated into action, what can we learn from the positive impacts and how can we mitigate the limitations? Your panel for this episode includes: Christen Dobson, Senior Programme Manager & Researcher, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Michelle Cook, Founder, Divest Invest Protect Steven Heim, Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management Anita Dorett, Program Director, Investor Alliance for Human Rights Any securities mentioned during the podcast are not a recommendation to buy or sell. 
Gender discrimination and intersecting structures of marginalisation mean women and girls experience unique and disproportionate business-related human rights abuses. Recent work on the UNGPs acknowledges the structural gender barriers at play, but much still needs to be done by governments and businesses to translate policies into practices that protect and advance the rights of women and girls. How do business operations both perpetuate and exacerbate gender discrimination? Has the UNGP framework been a useful tool for gender justice - and what opportunities and challenges lie ahead? Your panel for this episode includes:  Golda Benjamin, Programme Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Anannya Bhattacharjee, International Coordinator, Asia Floor Wage Alliance Professor Surya Deva, Vice Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights Kayla Winarsky Green, Human Rights and Business Adviser, Danish Institute for Human Rights
The economic systems that have fuelled growth in the 21st century have done so, largely, at a grave cost to workers in the Global South. The Covid-19 pandemic brought deep-rooted drivers of inequality and exploitation into sharp relief, be it directly in companies failing to afford workers the protections necessary to continue to work without fear of transmission, or indirectly in those who failed to ensure security for at-risk workers in their supply chain. For this episode, we were joined by a live online audience to discuss the vision for the next decade of the guiding principles, and the role they can play in supporting a just recovery from the pandemic. Your panel for this episode includes: Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Dante Pesce, Founder and Executive Director of the VINCULAR Center for Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development at the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile. Surya Deva, Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong. Anita Ramasastry, Roland L. Hjorth Professor of Law and the Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School Of Law.
Reducing the world’s carbon footprint is no simple task, and while the need for a transition to renewable energy is urgent, the cost of extraction of transition minerals cannot be ignored. Human rights abuses are widespread in the growing extractives sector, alongside significant environmental damages. The first episode in our new series on the 'Cost of Clean Energy' tackles the social impacts associated with the transition minerals boom, with reports of abuse including child labour, modern slavery and violence.  Our host Elizabeth Dykstra-McCarthy, a former member of the BHRRC Natural Resources team now consulting on climate action and environmental issues, is joined in this episode by: Jessie Cato, Manager of the Natural Resources Programme at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Emmanuel Umpala Nkumba, Director of DRC-based non-profit Afrewatch   For full details of the backing tracks and soundbites used in this episode, please see this reference document.
Over the past decade, scientists and policy makers have noted how the climate crisis will exacerbate social, environmental and economic factors which increase the risk of conflict – particularly for the countries and regions most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis. This episode poses an important question – will the measures we take to tackle the climate crisis drive conflict?  Andrew Whitmore, Co-Chair of the London Mining Network, joins Elizabeth to give context to how a large-scale mining operation can perpetuate violence with high-profile government contracts. Excerpts from an interview with 2001 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Yosepha Alomang of the Amungme people show how detrimental operations can be for Indigenous communities. For full details of the backing tracks and soundbites used in this episode, please see this reference document.
This episode explores the capacity for communities to hold companies accountable when their rights are violated by transition mineral mining. Helen Rosenbaum from the Deep Sea Mining Campaign and Manson Gwanyanya, Researcher & Representative for Southern & Anglophone West Africa at the Resource Centre, discuss how examples from the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea and the Konkola Copper Mine in Zambia prove the devastating environmental and human rights resulting from insufficient access to remedy. For full details of the backing tracks and soundbites used in this episode, please see this reference document.
Proposed alternatives to traditional land mining include space mining, deep sea and urban mining. The feasibility of space mining in the near enough future for the energy transition is unlikely, so scientists are giving more attention to deep sea mining. Helen Rosenbaum from the Deep Sea Mining Campaign and Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mike Brown shed light on social risks and logistical roadblocks to this solution, leaving urban mining as a potential emerging solution. Andy Whitmore from the London Mining Network explains that more than changing our sources of energy, a broader change in our energy use throughout the supply chain is needed. For full details of the backing tracks and soundbites used in this episode, please see this reference document.
While hydropower has successfully provided significant amounts of power around the world and played a important role in meeting the intermittency challenge of solar and wind, it is not a purely clean and green source of energy. Dr. Noah Kittner and climate scientist Ilissa Ocko explore the costs of hydropower including loss of food sources for local communities affected by dams, and increased methane emissions from reservoirs. For full details of the backing tracks and soundbites used in this episode, please see this reference document.
How much do we need the energy we produce? How can we change our energy systems—from the bottom up—to better serve all sections of society? The global push for the energy transition cannot mean uprooting communities and cutting off water access. We’re joined by Gregory Thomas of the National Heritage Institute and Dr. Noah Kittner from the University of North Carolina for a discussion on examples including the proposed Sambor Dam on Asia’s Mekong River. For full details of the backing tracks and soundbites used in this episode, please see this reference document .
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