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Include Business & Human Rights in your business operations

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A Business and Human Rights Training is an opportunity to enhance your expertise in day to day business operations. End June, CSR Europe will organise a webinar on its ‘Train the trainer programme’ on Business & Human rights.Catia Fernandes, IMS Luxembourg, member of CSR Europe’s National Partner Organisation, provides insight. Register to the next Train the Trainer webinar for CSR Europe National Partners Organizations on the 27th of June.

Following the publication of its Blueprint for Embedding Human rights in Key Company functions (2016), CSR Europe’s aim is to build capacity in companies’ responsibility to respect human rights at the local level. After the success of the last Training editions, where over 70 companies participated across Europe, a third  Train the trainer series has been set up.

IMS Luxembourg, decided to make use of CSR Europe’s developed material on Business and Human Rights to train their own corporate members. The topic is still new and requires support in understanding the business case and its implementation. Catia Fernandes, IMS Luxembourg provides insight.

What is the situation regarding Business and Human Rights in Luxembourg?

Catia. Luxembourg launched  a National Action Plan for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in June 2018. The objectives are to raise awareness, inform and train businesses. Many companies get more interested and acknowledged with the topic. Indeed, the direct link between the Luxembourg organisations’ activities and human rights are becoming clearer, as the political will to put the topic on the agenda is getting more visible.

Scandals and frequent reports show that many human rights are still being heavily affected by business activities. Although many companies are addressing human rights issues, a full understanding of business implications remains a challenge. What are the main priorities to be tackled?

The first priority is to raise awareness. The second, to integrate human rights processes in the company strategy and risk analysis. For many businesses, human rights issues and their implications are not that easy to connect with. Working with clear business cases, as well as setting out the regulatory framework is therefore essential.

The third priority is the access to tools and implementation of human rights processes internally. Addressing work ethics remain a challenge, especially regarding clients, who have to be educated in terms of human rights. Lastly, the lack of human rights considerations in non-financial reporting does not make it easier for companies.

What are the main benefits for companies to attend the training?

Understanding the business case for human rights, as well as the legal framework. The exchange of best practices between companies from different sizes and sectors enables to get insights on the topic. We create a learning network, enhance reflection on specific cases and provide access to governance tools and tips on how to implement a human rights strategy within the company.

What are the challenges you faced during the implementation? How did you overcome them?

We are not human rights experts ourselves!  This challenge was overcome by partnering with two NGOs, Fairtrade Lëtzebuerg and Action Solidarité Tiers Monde. Both have solid expertise and are experienced with human rights cases. Through this collaboration, participants get to know the s point of view of human rights activist organisations, involved in on-the-ground cases.

Another challenge was to make sure that the training does not remain a one shot and get the companies to go further in their human rights commitment. That was also an NGOs’ requirement. We, therefore, built up a two-day training based on both the introductory and advanced module developed by CSR Europe.

How has been the experience so far?

We had our first training day in February with 15 participants and are currently preparing the second day to take place in October/November. to give the participants time to reflect on how they deal with human rights internally between the two days.

We received quite positive feedback regarding the expertise our partners bring to the training as well as regarding the business case. The participants are now looking forward to the second day of the training to get to know how to concretely implement the learnings, based on the CSR Blueprint for Embedding Human Rights in key company functions.

Register now to the next Train the Trainer webinar for CSR Europe National Partners Organizations will be held on the 27th of June.

 For more information:

Ester Barrajon

eb@csreurope.org.