AB InBev joined our Business Learning Program in 2019.
Our joint efforts initially included helping internal stakeholders understand what it means to respect human rights in the banking context and enhancing the bank’s human rights disclosure, as well as engagements with select clients and other stakeholders. Our work now focuses on helping ABN AMRO strengthen its human rights due diligence processes in relation to its corporate clients and has involved capacity-building sessions for client relationship managers in higher risk markets.
Our work together has explored the practical application of a human rights lens to BHP’s climate change adaptation strategy, in alignment with the UN Guiding Principles. Other areas of work include supporting the company on developing its human rights training for employees, developing a human rights policy statement and on enhancing the company’s work on the rights of indigenous peoples.
Chanel joined the Business Learning Program in 2019.
Our engagement has spanned working with TCCC to identify and prioritize the company’s salient human rights issues, commenting on updates to the human rights policy and providing input into TCCC’s first standalone Human Rights Report outlining the importance of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting framework.
A significant part of our initial collaboration focused on supporting the development of the company’s first stand-alone human rights policy and the development of related policies and processes. This was followed by conducting a gap analysis to feed into recommendations for enhancing the company’s human right strategy. Shift is now supporting Equinor with capacity-building for key functions as the company moves further on its journey as a full-spectrum energy company.
A long-standing participant in the Business Learning Program, Fujitsu has undertaken a number of activities with Shift to build the capacity of key departments on human rights. We have supported the company in its identification of salient human rights issues, and we have worked to advance due diligence processes in relation to both procurement and customer-facing risks. In addition, Shift has delivered workshops on implementing the UNGPs with a number of its regional teams.
Our first engagement with H&M was to help the company analyze how it could be connected to potential human rights impacts in specific cases, and to define appropriate actions in response. Since then, we have also worked with H&M to align its reporting with the UNGP Reporting Framework, and have supported the company in producing a streamlined approach to identify and prioritize salient human rights issues in key sourcing markets
Our collaboration began with a gap analysis of the company’s policies and practices against the UN Guiding Principles and support on the identification of salient issues, both informed by workshops to assess and prioritize human rights impacts in own operations and the value chain of three operating companies in different regions. That work helped HEINEKEN to develop a new human rights program and a new Human Rights Policy, which is being implemented across the organization, including further human rights workshops, organized jointly in 11 countries. Shift’s support includes helping those operating countries understand how salient issues manifest at ground level and how to respond accordingly. We are also working together on the development of an approach, including operational guidance, for doing business in high risk contexts, with an initial focus on Africa. Furthermore, we gave input and feedback to the company´s new Supplier Code and the underlying process, HEINEKEN’s brand promoters policy and to implementation guidelines for their Human Rights Policy.
Given the size and complexity of its business, we have explored a number of approaches to embed respect for human rights throughout the Hitachi Group Companies, including the development of a due diligence guide to operationalize the company’s commitment to human rights. More recently, we have focused on building the capacity of specific functions - including human resources and procurement - to conduct human rights due diligence at the global level and to participate effectively in cross-functional processes at the company level. Shift has also supported Hitachi in developing stakeholder relationships.
Inditex joined the Business Learning Program in 2018 in line with our aim of incorporating and sharing best practice in social and environmental sustainability. We initially conducted a workshop to further identify and prioritize salient human rights issues. Subsequent work has helped us to hone in on these issues in key sourcing markets and to strengthen the human rights due diligence process throughout all areas of our business beyond the supply chain.
Our work with NEXT has ranged from building capacity and understanding around the UNGPs, to introducing a salience-based approach to risk assessment in their supply chains. We have also provided guidance on addressing human rights risks in specific business areas.
We have worked closely with PepsiCo to help focus the company’s efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles. For over three years, we have supported the company in identifying and prioritizing its salient human rights issues and developing mitigation actions for responding to those issues. We have also strengthened the capacity of key individuals within various departments on human rights and have provided coaching and advice on the application of the UNGPs to a number of different scenarios. Furthermore, Shift assists the company in aligning its human rights disclosures with the UNGP Reporting Framework, and will focus with the company on strengthening its stakeholder engagement approach in the coming year.
In 2016, Shift supported Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) on a Human Rights Due Diligence Pilot Project to deepen the assessment of Sime Darby Plantation’s policies and practices against the UN Guiding Principles. The process assisted SDP to subsequently strengthen its Human Rights Due Diligence and Impact Assessment processes through a series of interviews, focus groups and stakeholder meetings at the plantation, mill and refinery levels and proposed forward-looking mitigation measures for Sime Darby Plantation’s operations in Malaysia. This pilot involved the Human Rights Task Force in order to equip internal leaders to conduct similar processes for other parts of Sime Darby Plantation’s operations. More recently, Shift has supported the company to deepen its assessment of potential human rights risks in its Indonesian operations.
Shift has supported Unilever in the publication of two standalone human rights reports by facilitating cross-functional workshops and engaging stakeholders to help identify and prioritize salient human rights issues across the value chain and by providing guidance on the alignment with the UNGP Reporting Framework. Shift has also helped develop a guide to integrate human rights considerations into Unilever’s M&A processes and more recently has supported on a series of in-country engagements in different regions to help deepen Unilever’s assessment of risks to people across its value chain.
Shift has helped UPM develop and analyze self-assessment questionnaires for their various sites across the globe and facilitated the roll-out of a new human rights approach for all HR staff. Following a workshop to help identify salient human rights issues at corporate level, Shift helped UPM undertake due diligence at a specific facility in Uruguay to help the management team address potential human rights issues connected to the site. This process also informed the site management’s understanding of these issues with the perspectives of affected stakeholders, built the capacity of UPM staff and equipped them with the methodology to undertake interviews for qualitative research elsewhere.
Learn more about our work with UPM on their website.
Wells Fargo has drawn on the support of Shift to consider how to practically assess and address human rights risks in key operational areas. We have helped the company look holistically across key areas of its operations to identify salient human rights issues relevant to core areas of the bank, such as human resources, supply chain and corporate lending. We continue to work with Wells Fargo to help the bank focus its due diligence in the areas that pose the highest risk human rights impacts.
Senior Advisor, David Kovick, leading a session at our 2018 Business Learning workshop in Boston
Shift’s Business Learning Program is carefully crafted to support companies that are serious about walking the talk to respect human rights.
Rather than doing the work for them, we help businesses build the internal capacity they need to successfully fulfill their responsibility to respect human rights.
We do so because we believe that true commitment to human rights means being willing to do the heavy lifting to transform processes, structures and mindsets. It requires stepping out of the office, and engaging with those who are affected the most. And it means going beyond cosmetic changes, and off-the-shelf fixes, to put in place coherent, in-depth strategies, and sustainable, collaborative solutions.
That is why we’ve designed a unique approach that focuses on supporting companies as they work to identify their most pressing human rights issues, prioritize those where people may be most at risk, and put in place enduring solutions to prevent and mitigate harm, as well as to provide meaningful remedy where needed.
Anna Triponel leading a table discussion at one of our BLP workshops
We like to think of our Business Learning Program as a two-way street. On the one hand, we support companies as they build the capacity and systems that they need. On the other, each engagement that we have is an opportunity to expand our own knowledge and understanding of how the UNGPs are put into action.
That is why, as a mission-driven, nonprofit organization, we take pride in choosing to work with those companies that we can learn most from and with which we can have the greatest impact. So, we are not looking for companies with a ‘clean slate’. Some come to us as leaders in the field, seeking to do better in a specific area of their human rights work; others are a few steps behind, and some have only recently acknowledged that they need help.
Regardless of what stage they are at, we base our decision to admit companies into our Business Learning Program on four criteria:
Learn more about our board-approved criteria
Companies that become participants of the Business Learning Program, enjoy:
If you believe your company meets all four criteria, and it is ready to take the next step to embed respect for human rights in how business gets done, we’d love to hear from you.
Participants discuss effective stakeholder engagement at the 2018 Business Learning workshop
August 2013 | Shift
This resource helps companies understand what the Guiding Principles expect when they use the term “meaningful stakeholder engagement" and summarizes particular aspects of stakeholder engagement that are critical for implementing the Guiding Principles.
August 2012 | Shift
This resource examines how companies can implement the Guiding Principles throughout their supply chains, including identifying and prioritizing risks, using their leverage, understanding the role of auditing and supporting grievance mechanisms.
June 2012 | Shift
This resource captures and distills company reflections on what it takes to embed respect for human rights into corporate culture, including senior management buy-in, balancing competing priorities and effective communication.