The Year in Review: Ten of Our Favorite Business & Human Rights ‘Reads’ from 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, we look back on important contributions to the field of business and human rights this year.  Our second annual round-up of business and human rights ‘reads’ are ten articles, videos and podcasts that gave us pause, shed light on a new issue or sparked a new idea. Without further ado:

1.  One of the most impactful events to the field this year was the release of the pilot Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. The CHRB is the first ranking to focus exclusively on business and human rights and seeks to drive a race to the top when it comes to corporate human rights performance.

2.  The Institute for Human Rights and Business’s “Top 10 Business & Human Rights Issues for 2018.” IHRB’s annual top ten list always provides a good summary of the key trends in business and human rights. Based on a survey of experts in the field, this year’s list includes everything from battling discrimination against women and LGBTQ+ to making big data freer and safer.

3.  Microsoft’s President Brad Smith in discussion with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, on the role of technology when it comes to free speech.

4.  More Perfect’s “Enemy of Mankind” episode, exploring the Alien Tort Statute and whether the Statute secures human rights or represents dangerous overreach.

5.  ICAR, ECCJ, and Dejusticia’s report, Assessments of Existing National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights, which updates its 2014 report to include assessments of Norway, Colombia, United Kingdom (2016 iteration), Italy, Switzerland, and United States.

6.   NYU Stern’s Center for Business and Human Rights’ report, Making Workers Pay: Recruitment of the Migrant Labor Force in the Gulf Construction Industry, which finds that construction companies operating in the Arabian Gulf are able to recruit millions of low-wage migrant workers without incurring the costs of the recruitment process. 

7.  Cecile Richard’s keynote address at BSR’s 2017 Conference which called for increased focus from business on women’s rights and brought down the house.

8.   Foley Hoag’s Sarah Altschuller shares the latest updates on the negotiations at the UN on a legally binding international treaty on business and human rights.

9.     Shift’s report, “Human Rights Reporting: Are Companies Telling Investors What They Need to Know?” assesses 74 of the world's largest companies for their maturity in reporting on human rights.

10.     Finally, we are heartened to see Barrick and the Coca-Cola Company join the list of leaders in human rights disclosure by issuing their own stand-alone human rights reports.

We hope that these pieces spark as many interesting conversations and ideas for you as they did for us, and we look forward to collaborating with you as we continue to address these issues in 2018.

Happy holidays from all of us at Article One!