The Commission held its first Business and Human Rights forum earlier this month and it was a great success with businesses and government departments alike keen to learn more about what respecting human rights might look like in their organisation.
Held from 9 – 11 August, the forum was facilitated by Shift, the world-leading experts on business and human rights. Events held throughout the forum included a government roundtable, a business leaders breakfast, a workshop for investors and directors and a workshop for practitioners.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says the forum was a great success and has given the Commission plenty of food for thought about how human rights can continue to be top of mind for kiwi businesses.
“Much like the organisations that took part, the Commission learnt a lot throughout the forum and it was an absolute coup to have Shift here to impart their knowledge.
“We were really pleased to be able to host an honest dialogue about human rights in the workplace and hear from kiwi businesses who are already making positive changes to address and prevent human rights abuses.
“As recent reports of Kiwisaver funds being invested in companies linked to human rights abuses have shown, businesses have an important role in upholding the human rights of not only the staff here in New Zealand, but also workers in their supply chains.
“Businesses run the risk of serious reputational damage from increasingly discerning customers if they invest irresponsibly or aren’t doing right by their employees. However, they are also in a powerful position to create positive social change.
“We are keen to continue building on what we have learnt so far and also continue to work with businesses and government departments to help drive that change,” Dr Blue says.