Caroline Rees


Caroline worked as a lead advisor to the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights, Professor John Ruggie, from 2007 to 2011 and as the Director of the Governance and Accountability Program at the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School from 2009 to 2011. Caroline advised the SRSG's mandate across a broad range of issues, and led research related to access to remedy as well as work on human rights in supply chains. She was closely involved in the drafting of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

Caroline worked with a broad range of companies, civil society organizations, mediators and lawyers in developing and piloting the criteria for effective non-judicial grievance mechanisms that appear in the Guiding Principles. She has led research into the relationship between corporate culture and conflict resolution, working with a range of mining companies. She has developed the premier website on business-to-society grievance mechanisms and dispute resolution, and is currently producing three short films in collaboration with companies and communities that used mediated dialogue to resolve disputes. She has also published extensively on the issue of grievance mechanisms and is a regular speaker at conferences, workshops and universities on the Guiding Principles. 

Caroline is a Board Member of the mediation and consensus-building organization RESOLVE, and is on the Oversight Group for the Grievance Mechanism of the London Olympics Sustainable Sourcing Code.

Caroline previously spent 14 years with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. From 2003 to 2006 she led the UK's human rights negotiating team at the UN and chaired the UN negotiations on business and human rights that led to the creation of the SRSG's mandate. Her prior foreign service career covers Iran, Slovakia, the UN Security Council and the European Union. Caroline has a BA Hons from Oxford University and an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University.