PROGRAMME 2020

MONDAY, 6 JULY | 13.30 - 15.00 hrs (IST)

From CSR to BHR: Old Wine in New Bottle?

Session speakers

In 2014, India became the first country in the world to establish a law on corporate social responsibility (CSR) through an amendment of its Companies Act. It placed legal obligations upon large corporations to spend two percent of their annual profits on addressing pressing social and developmental challenges. Yet, how successful has CSR been in what it set out to achieve; and can responsible business conduct (RBC) do what CSR couldn't?

MONDAY, 6 JULY | 16.00 - 17.30 hrs (IST)

Introduction to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals

Session speakers

In 2011, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)— a set of guidelines to address business impact on all human rights that applies to both governments and businesses. And in 2015, world leaders unanimously adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. How are the two frameworks connected?

TUESDAY, 7 JULY | 13.30 - 15.00 hrs (IST)

Human Rights Due Diligence: Emerging Practice and its Relevance for India and South Asia

Session speakers

Businesses operate in increasingly complex environment that impacts people and the planet in significant ways. Human rights due diligence (HRDD) is a risk management process to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how businesses address their real and potential adverse human rights impacts.

TUESDAY, 7 JULY | 16.00 - 17.30 hrs (IST)

Labour Rights Challenges in Global Supply Chains: The Case of Informal Workers

Session speakers

As businesses assume global operations, they increasingly rely on deep and extended supply chains that draw on competitive advantage in developing countries. The asymmetries of power and profits between (multinational) corporations and those who produce and supply often manifests in human rights abuses, indecent working conditions and exploitation of workers.

WEDNESDAY, 8 JULY | 13.30 - 15.00 hrs (IST)

Corporate Responsibility Amidst Covid-19

Session speakers

The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the question of corporate responsibility more starkly than ever before. In India and other countries of South Asia, the crisis has deprived millions of people their wages, resulted in large number of job losses and increased exposure to the virus. While workers constitute the base of the giant corporate pyramid, what can companies do to protect their interests?

WEDNESDAY, 8 JULY | 16.00 - 17.30 hrs (IST)

Protecting the Environment and Climate from the Development Assault

Session speakers

In 2018, India ranked 177 out of 180 countries on the Environment Performance Index, dropping 36 points from its position in 2016. More recently, vast tracts of protected forests have given way to large-scale infrastructure projects, causing irreparable harm to the ecology and displacement of communities who depend on forests for life and livelihood. As GDP-dominated South Asian countries vie for economic growth and foreign investments, how will they balance the environmental impact and climate change?

THURSDAY, 9 JULY | 13.30 - 15.00 hrs (IST)

Addressing Gendered Impacts of Business Activities

Session speakers

Women, girls and sexual minorities experience business-related human rights abuses in unique ways and are often affected disproportionately. They face multiple forms of discrimination and experience additional barriers in seeking access to effective remedies for business-related human rights abuses. Therefore, business enterprises need to give special attention to their unique experiences and the structural discrimination or barriers that they face.

THURSDAY, 9 JULY | 16.00 - 17.30 hrs (IST)

Access to Remedy: Choosing the Right Option

Session speakers

It is the third pillar of the UNGPs, which establishes accountability and ensures justice in cases of business-related human rights violations. Access to remedy can assume many forms, State-based and non-State-based, judicial and non-judicial. Are they inter-changeable or are some remedial mechanisms better suited for certain specific scenarios?

FRIDAY, 10 JULY | 13.30 - 15.00 hrs (IST)

Role of Human Rights Defenders and National Human Rights Institutions in Corporate Accountability

Session speakers

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are tasked with promoting and protecting international human rights law standards at the domestic level, and have a significant role in the context of the third pillar on UNGPs— access to remedy. Yet, threats and attacks against human rights defenders (HRDs) are on the rise as they raise concern about adverse human rights impacts of business operations. How can the NHRIs contribute towards BHR and provide safeguards to defenders?

FRIDAY, 10 JULY | 16.00 - 17.30 hrs (IST)

National Action Plans on BHR: Moving from Paper to Practice

Session speakers

Since the adoption of the UNGPs in 2011, the Human Rights Council has called on all Member States to develop National Action Plans (NAPs) on business and human rights. The NAP is a policy document developed by governments to “protect against adverse human rights impacts by business enterprises in conformity with the UNGPs.” India and other South Asian countries are in the process of developing their NAPs.