Back To Schedule
Wednesday, November 28 • 1:30pm - 2:45pm
What works? Investigating the relationship between business practices and outcomes for people

Log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Feedback form is now closed.

Organized by SHIFT

For years, many - within business and beyond - have deployed vast efforts and resources to embed respect for human rights in companies’ operations and value chains. But not all business actions make a difference and deliver meaningful outcomes for affected rights-holders - and even the best intended ones can have little to no effect. Some may even harm people, instead of mitigating risk.
Participants will be invited to share their own experience and viewpoints with reference to a number of responsible business interventions. We will also benefit from inputs from practitioners about innovations and insights into both purchasing practices in the apparel industry, and mining company impacts on, and relationships with, communities. 
This session will engage participants in the discipline of working with both leading and lagging indicators to evaluate business respect for human rights. Lagging indicators are about harm that has already occurred. They measure adverse outcomes–what went wrong or has improved after the fact. Leading indicators are the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ that predict harm. They enable companies to fix the causes of harm before it happens.

The objective of the session is to identify what the opportunities and challenges are of working with leading and lagging indicators when evaluating business respect for human rights

Key discussion questions:
With reference to a few specific business and human rights challenges, the session will explore the following questions:
  • What views/insight do participants have about which actions to mitigate adverse human rights impacts make a difference to the lives of affected people?
  • What can we learn from existing innovations to identify - and build an evidence base around - which actions do in fact make a difference?
  • When making judgments about whether a company’s due diligence is, or is likely, to make a difference to affected people, what do participants think is most important to pay attention to?

The session will alternate between audience input/participation and contributions from practitioners about innovations and challenges in evaluating what works.

Background to the discussion:
The challenge facing all stakeholders is to do a better job at evaluating what is working and to develop and use the most meaningful information and indicators to track progress. This clearly involves moving beyond tracking inputs and activities, or focusing on high profile incidents of harm or good practice.
Without proper insights into what is working in practice, company leaders cannot allocate proper insights into what is working in practice, company leaders cannot allocate resources to the programs and policies that actually shift business behaviors and make a difference to people’s lives. Many investors feel blindfolded when trying to pick out socially responsible companies from the rest. And civil society organizations have to rely on often meaningless or superficial data, that focus on actions divorced from results, to measure human rights performance.
Most importantly, not getting a handle on what actions actually make a difference betrays the very individuals and communities that the business and human rights community purports to be focused on.

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Mark Hodge

Mark Hodge

Senior Associate / Advisor, Shift / OHCHR B-Tech

avatar for Martin Buttle

Martin Buttle

Strategic Lead - General merchandise, Ethical Trading Initiative
Dr Martin Buttle is Strategic Lead: General Merchandise at ETI. Martin leads ETI’s work on general merchandise, purchasing practices and new business models. He is responsible for ETIs partnership with Better Buying - a platform for collecting clear, relevant and timely information... Read More →
avatar for Anjali Nayar

Anjali Nayar

Founder, TIMBY (This Is My Back Yard)
Anjali is the founder of TIMBY (This is My Backyard), a monitoring and reporting system developed to help individuals and organizations on the frontlines of emerging and longstanding human rights and environmental issues report, investigate, aggregate and share information. TIMBY... Read More →
avatar for Casey O’Connor

Casey O’Connor

Sani Scholar in Residence, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights
My work is focused on developing social performance indicators for investor use.
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 →

Wednesday November 28, 2018 1:30pm - 2:45pm CET
Room XX