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As the Director of Shift’s Business Learning Program, Francis oversees our work providing expert advice to a select group of companies that are serious about human rights.

Francis West

Francis West

Business Learning Program Director | London

As the Director of Shift’s Business Learning Program, Francis oversees our work providing expert advice to a select group of companies that are serious about human rights. Shift is committed to using the knowledge that we help generate to build broader understanding of the practical application of the UN Guiding Principles and this is a key area of Francis’ responsibilities.

Prior to joining Shift, Francis helped establish Unicef UK’s Child Rights and Business Unit. His role included providing strategic advice to businesses to integrate child rights into their human rights due diligence processes. A major project involved working directly with a multinational hotel chain to support a human rights impact assessment in Mexico, including interviews with over 300 hotel employees and their children.

Francis also led Unicef UK’s advocacy towards the UK Government on the application of the UN Guiding Principles into law and public policy. A central part of this work was policy development and advocacy related to the UK’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and on the Modern Slavery Act Supply Chain Transparency Requirement.

Having worked at Save the Children and Malaria Consortium, Francis has experience of partnering with businesses in the international development context and particularly with those within the pharmaceutical sector. At the UK’s technology trade body, he worked alongside major UK tech firms to design and deliver public affairs strategies targeting both parliament and the civil service and helped develop industry consensus on relevant standards and practices.

As a member of the FTSE4Good Criteria Committee, a Board Director at the CORE Coalition (the leading UK civil society network on corporate accountability) and formerly a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative’s NGO caucus, he has experience working in coalition with a variety of sectors.

Francis is fluent in Spanish having worked in Colombia for more than three years with teenagers from contrasting ends of the economic spectrum, at a bilingual school and at an NGO that housed and educated teenage orphans. His experience in Colombia stimulated his interest in the effects of insecurity and inequality in emerging economies and particularly of the variable role of the private sector in these contexts. During a subsequent MSc in International Security and Development, he wrote his thesis on the role of corporate social responsibility in post-conflict zones. Francis also has a BA (Hons) in International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a British national. 

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