The Global Compact Network Switzerland (GCNS) Sharing and Learning Business Lunch took place at Business School Lausanne (BSL) on Monday, the 14th March, 2016. Ron Popper, Head of Corporate Responsibility, ABB and Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin, Business School Lausanne (BSL), the initiator of the BSL Platform for Business and Human Rights, were the guest speakers at this lunch.
The event attracted a lot of companies, civil society organizations, government and academics due, perhaps, to of the importance of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,(UNGPs) the Responsible Business Initiative and the National Action Plan (NAP), all under discussion at UN and Swiss government level currently.
Mayenfisch-Tobin set the stage with an explanation of the UNGPs and she showed a film explaining how companies could think about the salient Human Rights that might impact their companies.” The world is changing”, she explained, “and business is being impacted globally by legislation that is coming from everywhere”. She cited several different laws including the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, 2012, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, 2016, the UK Modern Slavery Act, 2015, the Dodd Frank Act, 2010 and the EU Directive on Non-financial reporting, 2014. This plethora of legislation shows how quickly the world is changing and how important it is that business everywhere be aware of these changes..
The audience heard about the efforts here in BSL to educate responsible leaders and also heard how important this is not only for BSL but for the business world also.
Ron Popper talked about the importance of business carrying out its due diligence and of “getting it right” with regards to human rights. He acknowledged the challenges of doing business in this globalized world and answered many questions from the audience, who were clearly very involved and concerned by the topic to hand.
A fascinating lunch, a concerned audience and a burning issue- all in all, a great event!
Many thanks go to the staff of the Global Compact Network Switzerland for organizing this important meeting.
Author: Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin, BCL, LL.M, Solicitor