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Tuesday, November 27 • 11:30am - 1:00pm
Human rights due diligence across value chains - addressing systemic challenges

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Interpretation is provided into Spanish and Korean.

Organized by the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights in collaboration with the Responsible Business Alliance

Brief description of the session:
This session will focus on how and why companies approach implementing human rights due diligence across their value chains to identify and address (in coordination and collaboration with others) systemic human rights impacts.
Participants will gain an opportunity to explore the complexity of value chains in today’s globalised economy, and how business practitioners map and seek to understand their company’s value chain. We will also examine how practitioners conduct human rights due diligence across vast and complex value chains – with an emphasis on opportunities to promote collaboration and communication across entities in the value chain to more efficiently identify and address adverse impacts. The session will incorporate emerging practice and perspectives from panellists and members of the ‘audience’. The session will conclude with observations as to what is needed to enhance and scale value chain due diligence.

Session objectives:
Through this session, we will seek to:
  • Strengthen understanding of the complexity of today’s value chains and business relationships – and how this complexity impacts efforts to implement human rights due diligence.
  • Explore how business practitioners are mapping and visualising their value chains, including key challenges and innovations.
  • Share how companies across industries are working to enhance their due diligence in key parts of the value chain, including by strengthening communication and coordination.
  • Identify practical opportunities to enhance and scale value chain due diligence going forwards.

Key discussion questions:
  • How can business practitioners strengthen their (and stakeholders’) visibility of complex value chains?
  • How are business practitioners (individually and collectively) working to identify and respond to human rights impacts across their companies’ value chains?

Session format:
This session will commence with a discussion amongst the speakers and the audience about the complexity of modern value chains. We will invite 2-3 companies from different industries to share, briefly, an overview of their companies’ value chains and discuss how this changes over time.
We will then explore the challenges companies confront when undertaking value chain due diligence (including that of prioritisation) through a series of mini-case studies. These case studies will offer participants insight into how companies in different industries are implementing human rights due diligence in various parts of their value chains – for example, to assess risks in specific business relationships (i.e. customers, JV partners, suppliers), sourcing decisions (i.e. particular components or raw materials) and production phases (i.e. manufacturing, processing, recycling). The session will not aim to be comprehensive, but rather to give participants a sense of innovative and less-visible aspects of companies’ efforts to identify and manage issues across their value chains. We will also discuss key tools available to companies to support these efforts.
Throughout the session, we will encourage active participation from the audience, and will ask business participants to come prepared to share their own insights and experiences.

Background to the discussion:
In today’s globalised economy, companies are under increasing pressure to identify and respond to adverse human rights impacts in their value chains. Value chains are extremely complex. Most companies have hundreds of customers, suppliers and other business partners – and these typically provide services to more than one industry sector. Major brands have been under particular pressure to ‘cascade’ expectations and standards ‘down’ their supply chains. Suppliers and other business-to-business companies are also increasingly expected to meet their customers’ standards, to be alert to human rights risks downstream – that is, impacts they may be involved in through their customers and clients. For most companies, undertaking human rights due diligence across the value chain will indeed require assessing a multitude of different types of business relationships, products and operations.
Companies working to respond to these pressures face additional challenges presented by the extensive nature of major global value chains, and the complexity and multi-faceted nature of the many business relationships within it. Knowing what the value chain ‘looks like’ is key to enabling robust approaches to identify and respond to adverse human rights impacts. But knowing is also only the start. Even with good visibility of entities within a company’s value chain, implementing effective human rights due diligence processes to identify and understand risks in the value chain requires companies to work together. It also requires the development of creative and smart strategies to navigate issues of scale and find efficiencies, the use of leverage as appropriate and the identification of appropriate ways to prioritise (where necessary).

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Andrea Shemberg

Andrea Shemberg

Chair, Global Business Initiative on Human Rights
Andrea has been with GBI since 2011, and since January 2019 has served as Chair.She has worked in business and human rights for nearly 20 years, beginning as Legal Advisor at Amnesty International UK and the International Commission of Jurists focusing on business, human rights and... Read More →

avatar for Tony Khaw

Tony Khaw

Director, Corporate Social Responsibility & Human Rights, Sustainability Office, NXP Semiconductors
Tony has well over 20 years of experience in implementing corporate social responsibility programs in manufacturing operations and in the supply chain. Tony joined NXP in Jan 2013 to lead the Corporate Social Responsibility and Compliance function. Tony led the effort to fully develop... Read More →

Rob Lederer

Executive Director, RBA
avatar for James Nicholson

James Nicholson

Head of Corporate Responsibility, Trafigura
James is Head of Corporate Responsibility at Trafigura. In 2010, James joined Trafigura in order to help establish a Corporate Affairs department. Areas of focus at the present day include developing and driving the Group’s responsibility and transparency policies worldwide, for... Read More →
avatar for Vanessa Zimmerman

Vanessa Zimmerman

Chief Executive Officer, Pillar Two
Vanessa is a recognised global and domestic corporate sustainability expert focusing on human rights.Originally an anti-trust lawyer, Vanessa specialised in business and human rights, working for five years as a Legal Advisor to the UN Special Representative on Business and Human... Read More →

Tuesday November 27, 2018 11:30am - 1:00pm CET