Monday, July 05, 2010

From the IBA and UN Global Compact: "Lawyers as Leaders--The Essential Role of Lawyers in the Corporate Sustainability Agenda"

John Sherman, co-chair of the International Bar Association's Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility, announced the production of new work that should be of interest to anyone in the field: a video on business and human rights 

that Rachel Nicolson of Allens Arthur Robinson, Ursula Wynhoven and Yihen Feng of the UN Global Compact, and I produced for the International Bar Association and the UN Global Compact, with the generous support of LexisNexis.   It's called "Lawyers as Leaders:  The Essential Role of Lawyers in the Corporate Sustainability Agenda".  

This is the first of a series of four videos on the key themes of the UN Global Compact--human rights, labor rights, the environment, and anti-corruption.  Its release was announced at the Global Compact Summit meeting in NYC last week.  The other three videos will be released over the coming months.

The first video, on business & human rights, features interviews and comments by Georg Kell (head of the Global Compact), Navanethem Pillay (UN High Commissioner for Human rights), Prof. John Ruggie (Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Business and Human Rights), Caroline Rees (Director of Accountability and Governance at the CSR Initiative of the Harvard Kennedy School), Mark Nordstrom (Senior Labor & Employment Counsel of GE), and Debra Valentine (Group Executive, Legal & Executive Affairs, Rio Tinto).  The primary audience is corporate counsel and their clients, but it should also be of interest to anyone interested in the overlap of law, business and human rights.

Links to the video appear on the IBA website, the Global Compact website, and will appear soon on Connect, a networking site for lawyers.  The IBA and Martindale sites will also support discussion forums.
The video is meant to highlight the work of the Global Compact within the governance fabric that is being constructed for the creation of a behavioral framework for business.  "The inaugural video of Lawyers as Leaders was launched in New York, USA, during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2010: Building a New Era of Sustainability, where more than 1,000 corporate chief executives, government ministers, heads of civil society and other leaders from across the globe gathered to address pressing sustainability issues and to showcase best practices, with the aim of accelerating the wider adoption by business of the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles."  International Bar Association, IBA launches ‘Lawyers as Leaders’ video guide with the UN Global Compact, June 24, 2010.  The International Bar Association also recently produced a quite useful interview with John Ruggie.
On Monday 19 April, the IBA held an interview and live Q&A session with Professor John Ruggie, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on business & human rights.
Professor Ruggie also currently holds the title of Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and is widely considered to be one of his generation's most influential political scientists, especially within international relations.
Professor Ruggie discussed subjects including:
  • His UN mandate
  • The ‘Protect, Respect, Remedy’ framework: what does it mean?
  • Reactions to – and the significance of – the framework for lawyers
  • Next steps and what happens after the mandate
Access Professor Ruggie's reports to the UN Human Rights Council and related papers.
The interview was conducted by John Sherman, Chair of the IBA Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.

Watch film
Read transcript
International Bar Association, Interview with Professor John Ruggie, Special Representative of UN Secretary-General on business and human rights, April 19, 2010. Professor Ruggie and his team are now working toward the creation of a set of principles for business and human rights; this interview serves as a valuable window on that process.  More information on these issues may be found at the Harvard Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative website.  Additional information is available at the UN Global Global Compact Human Rights Working Group website.

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