USCIB and two of the global business groups with which we are affiliated – the International Organization of Employers(IOE) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – represented business at the second annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, December 2-4 in Geneva. A number of USCIB member companies also attended, including BP, Chevron, GE, Google, Hess, Microsoft, Nestlé and Procter & Gamble.
The annual UN forum is designed to bring business, government, civil society and other stakeholders together to discuss the status, opportunities and challenges of implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
According to Adam Greene, USCIB’s vice president for labor affairs and corporate responsibility, this year’s discussion was much more negative and critical towards business. The consensus developed by John Ruggie, the former UN special representative for business and human rights, during his mandate is fraying and may collapse if left unaddressed.
In addition, the obligation of governments, under the UN Guiding Principles, to protect human rights continues to be minimized, with nearly all of the attention focused on companies’ concomitant responsibility to respect human rights.
The forum concluded with a number of statements that the UN Guiding Principles have not worked and that the UN should develop a legally binding treaty on multinational enterprises. The government of Ecuador plans to organize a meeting to push this proposal forward at the next meeting of the UN Human Rights Council.
Read more in the IOE news release on the forum.
Staff contact: Adam Greene