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By Christopher Cox, Human Thread Campaign
Two weeks ago, Frank Sherman and I participated in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) Program Strategy Week. The Program Directors met with their Work groups in NYC to evaluate the progress over the past year and chart out a path forward for the 2018-19 corporate engagement season. This article will summarize the human rights/human trafficking session.
Estimates indicate that 27 million victims fall prey to trafficking and slavery each year and that it is a global trade valued at $32 billion dollars. But due to the clandestine nature of these crimes and the reluctance of victims to speak out because they live in fear of physical retribution and/or deportation, trafficking and slavery are typically very difficult to uncover and prosecute. Through the Human Rights/Human Trafficking (HR/HT) Work Group, ICCR members ask the companies they hold to adopt human rights policies that formally recognize human trafficking and slavery and to train their personnel and their suppliers to safeguard against these risks throughout their supply chains. Human rights provides an umbrella for all ICCR efforts.
The day prior to our session, the Alliance met as well. It will take some time to define action that corresponds to IAHR or to the HR/HT work group as both groups are concerned with issues that overlap. The Alliance has three components: Human rights responsibilities of investors, collective action, and multi-stakeholder engagement.
- Promotes implementation of human rights due diligence by companies
- Encourages the creation of enabling environment for responsible business conduct through awareness raising, standard setting, and regulatory development – states, multi-lateral institutions, the UN, development banks and, of course, investors
- Encourages engaged companies to develop and strengthen activities and process to provide remedy
- Builds partnerships with business community, NGOs, trade unions, local communities and others to leverage this work
It seems likely that the IAHR will focus, this year, on Banking and Tech sectors as it relates to salient human rights issues. Again, it will take some time to develop the necessary coordination between the efforts of IAHR and ICCR working groups.
Read the rest of the article at Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investing’s website.
Oblates Active in ICCR AGM in Boston June 10th, 2012
The Oblates participated in the Annual General Meeting of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) that met at Simmons College in Boston from June 4-8. The corporate engagements over the last proxy season were evaluated – with successes celebrated, and plans laid for the 2012-2013 season. Areas in which the Oblates are active include: access to finance, extractives, global access to health, water, human trafficking, toxic chemicals, corporate governance and supply chain (labor) issues. John Ruggie, Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the UN Special Rapporteur behind the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business was honored at a reception Wednesday evening.
The work on the financial services sector continues to be a high priority for ICCR members and has generated significant media attention. Resolutions and statements by religious investors continue to draw attention to the extensive moral and ethical responsibilities that corporate actors in this space assume. The enduring impact of the destruction of nearly 17 trillion dollars of wealth since the near financial meltdown of September 2008 is a clear justification of the need for such vigilance. This work by ICCR members has strongly supported the efforts of numerous homeowners in places like the San Fernando Valley CA and Prince William County in VA to stay in their homes and restore their communities.
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Gov. Schwarzenegger Signs Legislation to Combat Human Trafficking October 8th, 2010
“Human trafficking is a terrible crime that goes against basic human rights and everything our country stands for,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am proud that in California, we have enacted some of the toughest laws to punish human traffickers and protect their victims. This legislation will increase transparency, allow consumers to make better, more informed choices and motivate businesses to ensure humane practices throughout the supply chain.”
SB 657 requires major retail sellers and manufacturers doing business in California to disclose their voluntary efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from its direct supply chain for tangible goods offered for sale.
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate joined a group of investors working to end human trafficking who urged the Governor to sign the bill into law.
Thanks are due to the bill’s author, California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), and to Chris Miller with Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET ) and founder Julia Ormond, former United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Against Slavery and Human Trafficking, for their tireless work as organizational sponsors of the bill.
Companies Respond to Consumer Demands on Environment July 1st, 2010
Activist campaigns targeting corporations have been surprisingly successful in changing corporate behavior and “greening” supply chains, particularly with regard to timber and beef products. For continued success though, consumers need to signal a clear preference for sustainably produced goods.
A Yale Environment 360 article details one campaign’s success:
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Global NGO Shows Evidence of Widespread human trafficking across sectors and countries, including the United States
Verité, the global non-profit organization known for its state-of-the-art, ‘worker interview’ social audit, CSR training, labor rights research and supply chain expertise, launched a ground-breaking initiative today entitled HELP WANTED: Hiring, Human Trafficking and Slavery in the Global Economy. As part of the HELP WANTED initiative, the organization released a major report based on a year-long investigation that illustrates the prevalence of forced labor and human trafficking across many businesses across the globe. The group has launched a website to help stakeholder groups with the questions needed to be asked and steps needed to be taken in order to eradicate forced labor and slavery in supply chains around the world. To download a copy of the report and visit HELP WANTED, visit www.verite.org/wellmade.