By Oxfam India
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The 3rd IRBF Conference 2018 Is Here

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It is now widely recognized that the private sector is an important stakeholder in bringing equitable and sustainable growth. Its role in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is becoming increasingly critical. It is now clear that a ‘business as usual approach’ will not help us successfully achieve these ambitious development goals for India.

The India Responsible Business Index (IRBI) is an annual index analysing public disclosures and policies of the top 100 companies listed on BSE on social inclusion. The latest index highlights some encouraging trends. For example, things are improving when it comes to non-discrimination in the workplace with more than 50% of the companies identifying women (61) and persons with disabilities (56) as vulnerable to discrimination.

But the path towards ensuring inclusive and responsible Indian businesses is long and there is so much more that needs to be done. Companies now need to move from intent to action to make responsible business a reality. And, the third India Responsible Business Forum (IRBF) Conference 2018 is a step in the right direction. It will take place on 27 February 2018 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM at The Park Hotel in New Delhi.

This annual conference will promote a data driven dialogue between business and civil society leaders in an endeavour to enable Indian companies to move towards action on responsible business practices. It will will act as a platform for companies, corporate executives, sustainability officers, supply chain managers, investors, financial institutions, civil society organisations, thought leaders, policy makers, government officials, academia, researchers and media to enrich the discussion about business responsibility in India.

The speakers at IRBF 2018 will share their views on various topics that fall under the umbrella of business responsibility such as human rights, stakeholder engagement, supply chains, responsible investment, NVGs and BRR. Best practices on these will be shared, and participants can learn the strategies that can strengthen India’s businesses to become more responsible.

The conference partners will provide insight into how the top 100 companies in India are interweaving responsible business practices within their organisations by unveiling the 3rd edition of the India Responsible Business Index (IRBI). In addition to this, there will be three panel discussions during the conference:

Engaging Communities by Design

This session was created keeping in mind the crucial need for rethinking the role of business in society and the scope of engaging communities as rights holders. This session starts at 11:30 AM. Arun Maira, a stalwart in the field of management consulting, will chair this session. The panelists will be:

  • Chetna Gala Sinha, Founder and Chair, Mann Deshi Bank
  • Andrew Leakey, General Manager, India & Indian Sub-Continent, Mars Chocolate
  • Amitabh Behar, Executive Director, National Foundation for India

Transparency in Business Supply Chains

The next session will deliberate on navigating the impact and opportunities of global trends in supply chain transparency and due diligence. It starts at 1:30 PM, with Anil Padmanabhan, Executive Editor of Mint chairing the session. The panelists will be:

  • Navneet Munot, Chief Investment Officer, SBI Mutual Fund
  • Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
  • Abhishek Jani, CEO, Fairtrade India
  • Rishi Sher Singh, Independent Supply Chain Sustainability Expert

Investing in Equality and Dignity

This session, chaired by Kiran Karnik, will start at 3 PM. It will explore how financial institutions and investors are incorporating environment, social and governance factors in their strategies to prevent and provide remedy for corporate violations. The panelists will be:

  • Harpreet Kaur, Deputy Director,Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership, Ashoka University
  • Salil Tripathi, Sr. Advisor-Global Issues, Institute of Human Rights and Business
  • Pavan Rao, Head Investor Relations, Wipro

Post the panel discussions, three speakers will take the agenda forward. Viraf Mehta, Advisor, Partners in Change will speak about strengthening the NVGs and BRR 2.0 framework. His speech will be followed by Pawan Mehra, Managing Director, cKinetics who will explain the need for leveraging investors’ voices on transparency. Priti Darooka, South Asia Representative, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, will shed light on the importance of documenting cases to strengthen business responsibility.

This is an exciting opportunity for civil society, business leaders, human rights defenders, media, academicians, researchers, sustainability professionals and other stakeholders.

Participants will be able to understand the current landscape for responsible business in India, to learn how the top 100 BSE listed companies are faring on social inclusion, to deliberate on forward strategies and to unify the voice to create an enabling environment for business responsibility in India.

If you would like to attend IRBF 2018, register here.