Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Adelaide House, London Bridge
Many companies have developed or participated in private grievance mechanisms whereby people can raise concerns or make complaints about the human rights impacts of companies’ business activities or relationships. The kinds of impacts that can potentially be addressed by these mechanisms are many and varied, and can relate to areas such as labour, health and safety, equality, the environment, consumer protection and privacy.
During this Roundtable, we will explore what access to remedy means in an international supply chain context, and what is expected of companies and other stakeholders. What is the purpose of an operational-level grievance mechanism and how can companies be sure that these mechanisms are genuinely effective? What is the appropriate level of transparency and accountability? What risks might be involved in establishing and operating these kinds of mechanisms, and how can these be managed? What is the role of in-house legal counsel and how are these mechanisms relevant to wider corporate human rights due diligence strategies and processes? Is there potential for greater collaboration between companies and with other organisations (including civil society organisations, trade unions and multi-stakeholder initiatives) to improve effectiveness and impact? If so, what are the key risks and opportunities of different forms of collaboration?
This consultation, co-convened by the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and Ethical Trading Initiative will provide participants with an opportunity to reflect on the challenges that have been encountered so far and to explore opportunities and strategies for addressing them. This consultation is aimed at in-house lawyers & ethical trade/sustainability professionals. It will be held under the Chatham House rule.
ETI will introduce its new Practical Guidance for Companies on establishing and participating in effective UNGP-informed remedy mechanisms for workers who may be adversely impacted by business operations, products, services or relationships in the entirety of their supply chains.
Participants will also hear directly from OHCHR about the work that has been completed under the auspices of the Accountability and Remedy Project and its implications for companies, as well as the programme of work planned for 2019-20 under this UN Human Rights Council mandated project.