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Wednesday, November 28 • 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Scaling up human rights due diligence through the use of blockchain

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Organized by Hermes Equity Ownership Services and DLA Piper

Short description of the session: 
This session will focus on what has been working, what is not working and where efforts are falling short by illustrating key practical challenges to effective human rights risk management and uptake of HRDD. By providing insights from investors, advisors and industry groups we will highlight practice based challenges related to a lack of traceability/transparency in a supply chain and across a corporate groups, which make human rights risks, bribery and corruption, money laundering, labour exploitation and related risks to people difficult to identify, prevent or manage.
Distributed ledger technology and responsible sourcing solutions providers, Everledger and RCS Global will share their experience working with a range of companies to develop practical solutions to increase transparency and improve human rights due diligence and risk management throughout supply chains, for example, blockchain innovations used to improve data collected along minerals and metals supply chains, which complement existing top down third party audit approach with bottom up data push by data generated by miners and other stakeholders related to human rights and related risks.
With this practice-based foundation, the session will then seek to draw in stakeholders' perspectives from the audience to collect insights and the experience of civil society, academics, businesses and other stakeholder groups in managing these issues to identify was to scale up the implementation of human rights due diligence in supply chains and corporate groups using emerging technology solutions, whilst also ensure that reducing risks to people is embedded into the development of these emerging solutions.

Session objectives:
Emerging technology does not provide a complete solution to the challenge of scaling up HRDD but it is an important piece to the puzzle by plugging gaps in current approaches, complementing existing processes and identifying new ways to identify and manage risks. This session has two key objectives:
  • Stimulate a discussion about the practical utility of emerging technology in supporting businesses reduce risks to people based on lessons from practice, as well as the key discussion questions that remain to be answered; and
  • Collect views of civil society, academics, businesses and other stakeholders on how to enhance these efforts and plug remaining gaps to move HRDD beyond the largest, first mover businesses. These contributions will be published following the session with a view to scaling up HRDD through the use of emerging technology.

Key discussion questions: 
  • What is not working and where efforts are falling short to implement effective human rights due diligence and risk management - insights from investors, advisors and industry groups on practice-based challenges related to a lack of traceability/transparency through supply chains and across corporate groups that mean human rights risks, ABC, AML, labour risks are difficult to identify and prevent or manage;
  • How emerging technology solutions like distributed ledger technology can address some of these challenges; and
  • What gaps remain in utilising technology to enhance HRDD and ensure businesses are able to reduce risks to people

Format of the session:
The moderator will guide an interactive discussion by opening with  short contributions on the practical challenges in implementing corporate HRDD and further ideas from speakers' own experience related to the use of technology and blockchain to address human rights risks in supply chains. The discussion will then focus on collecting contributions from civil society, academics, businesses and additional stakeholder groups on the topics and issues raised, which will be captured and released in the form of a summary after the panel and as contributions to a discussion paper that the session organizers are developing.

Background to the discussion: 
Practical challenges in managing complex global supply chains make corporate human rights due diligence efforts challenging, for instance, when a business comprises of a large groups of companies the DD that is increasingly expected is onerous (resources and cost) and often difficult to do effectively; methods of identifying risks down the supply chain have their shortcomings which mean risks aren't adequately identified and managed e.g. social/third party audits.
Recently, technological innovations have begun to transforming the way businesses increase transparency, manage risks and create value. Distributed Ledger Technology ("DLT"), commonly known as blockchain technology, is behind a wave of innovation that has the potential to revolutionise the way global businesses operate across a range of sectors.
This session will provide civil society, academic, business and government stakeholders to contribute stakeholders consultations looking at how emerging technologies can support supply chain human rights risk management to be included in a discussion paper being drafted that will seek to outline some of the potential opportunities and challenges presented by DLT to manage human rights and responsible business conduct risks in supply chains and increase transparency.

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Sarah Ellington

Sarah Ellington

Dispute resolution lawyer, DLA Piper
Sarah has over 10 years’ experience resolving disputes using both formal and informal mechanisms for governments, governmental agencies and international organisations, as well as multinational corporations.Sarah advises clients across a number of sectors on risk management and... Read More →

avatar for Nicky Black

Nicky Black

Director, Environmental Stewardship and Social Progress, International Council on Mining and Metals

Claire Gavini

Engagement, Hermes Investment Management
avatar for Darcy Hoogewerf

Darcy Hoogewerf

Product and Business Analyst, Everledger
Specialist in using emerging technology for raw material supply chains. Interested in how technology can play a role in helping and transforming responsible souring of material with the power of networks through collaboration.

Ferdinand Maubrey

Managing Director, RCS Global

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