The Global Compact Network Switzerland comes to Business School Lausanne

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.

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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
marymayenfish

 

Business says Human Rights are not negotiable!

The 3rd annual Forum on business and human rights is underway as I write.  About 2,000 people from business, governments and civil society have come to the UN in Geneva and the discussion is riveting!

Mo Ibrahim, the Chairperson of the Forum opened up the session with good advice to all participants. The UN Guiding Principles (UNGP) on business and human rights is a great achievement, said Dr Ibrahim but now “the time has come to deliver”!

Annual processes to measure progress, monitoring systems , publication of results are necessary now and  this needs to be carried out by an independent , credible organization funded by governments, business and civil society.   “Business has a role to play to support and uphold society and civil society must drive change”- we were off to a good start. Continue reading

Is there a business case for CSR?

News-banner-Michael-Hopkins

Business School Lausanne received a visit from Michael Hopkins [1] in September 2013.  Professor Hopkins is a well-known expert on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and was recently named as one of the world’s 100 thought leaders on trustworthy business behavior in 2013. Hopkins gave his listeners a comprehensive explanation of how he has lived and seen the process and thinking relating to CSR over a 20 year period. Different influences such as economist Wassily Leontief and development gurus Arthur Lewis and AK Sen [2] and Michael’s own  work on human development,  his interest in seeing what business was doing in terms of development were all part of his personal journey in this subject. Continue reading