For further information about the 9th UN Forum on business and human rights, please visit the Forum webpage

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Monday, November 16 • 18:15 - 19:15
CEO panel: Closing the gap between corporate aspiration and action to respect human rights

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The COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and the global movement for Black lives and social justice have laid bare ongoing inequalities across the world. Now more than ever, business and civil society must work together to safeguard and champion human rights in order to realize an inclusive and sustainable future.
Time has shown that real progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be hampered if human rights are overlooked or neglected. Given more than 90% of the SDG targets are linked to international human rights standards, it’s critical that business embeds respect for human rights in their strategies and activities in order to realize an equal and fair world.

Conducting human rights due diligence as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) is the most important way companies can effectively meet the baseline expectation that they respect human rights and prevent negative impacts on people. It is the ongoing risk management process that a business must have in place in order to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for how it addresses its adverse human rights impacts.

Yet, as the United Nations marks its 75th anniversary this year, and ahead of the 10th anniversary of the UNGPs in June 2021, studies continue to highlight the persistent gap between corporate aspirations and tangible actions to respect human rights. 

We are at a critical juncture to scale-up meaningful business action on human rights. This session will highlight the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights' (UNWG) year-long consultation process to take stock of the first ten years of the UNGPs and design a roadmap for global implementation over the next decade to ensure we move from theory to practice.

Session Target: Underscore tangible actions business can take to move from aspiration to action (and outcomes) to embed respect for human rights, which in turn will be a significant contribution to truly realize the SDGs in the decade ahead.

Session Objectives:
  • Shed light on existing UNGPs implementation gaps
  • Convey from leading international business organizations that we are in a paradigm shift moment in terms of business accountability on human rights
  • Explore how pending international mandatory human rights due diligence legislation will affect the ways in which global businesses manage and mitigate human rights risks
  • Highlight emerging practice and learnings for companies to prevent negative impacts on human rights in the “new normal”
  • Feed into the UNGPs10+ stocktaking and roadmap

Organized by: B Team, Shift, UN Global Compact, UNWG, World Business Council on Sustainable Development

avatar for Sanda Ojiambo

Sanda Ojiambo

CEO & Executive Director, UN Global Compact
Sanda Ojiambo is the Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. Launched in July 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is the Secretary‑General’s strategic policy and advocacy initiative calling for the alignment of business operations and strategies with 10 universal... Read More →
avatar for Michele Thatcher

Michele Thatcher

Chief Human Rights Officer, PepsiCo
avatar for Caroline Rees

Caroline Rees

President, Shift
Caroline Rees is President and Co-Founder of Shift. Shift is a non-profit mission-driven organization that works across all continents and sectors to challenge assumptions, push boundaries, and redefine corporate practice, in order to build a world where business gets done with respect... Read More →

Filippo Veglio

Managing Director, World Business Council on Sustainable Development
avatar for Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry

Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Monday November 16, 2020 18:15 - 19:15 CET
Virtual Room 2