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Education and Outreach

We share thought leadership and build organization’s own capacity through speaking engagements, opinion articles and interactive workshops.

Education and Outreach

Training and Workshops

As ever more organizations use the Guiding Principles, they often need support to get started on the right path or to strengthen certain areas of their practice. Our team are experts in providing training opportunities that can help organizations of all levels of expertise and resources put the Guiding Principles into practice. 

“Shift is an authoritative voice on the Guiding Principles, the global standard for business conduct on human rights. Our collaboration with Shift has helped to enrich our understanding on the standard and its practical applications on the ground.” – Dini Widiastuti, Economic Justice Program Director, Oxfam in Indonesia

We have trained business groups ranging from top management of Global Fortune 100 companies headquartered in Asia, North America, and Europe to operational staff in key sourcing countries in Asia, Middle East and Africa. We have worked with grassroots NGOs in West Africa, Indonesia and South Africa and with international NGOs working on a range of issues. On the government side, we have led workshops for environmental and social experts from leading European Development Finance Institutions and for staff from Latin American banking regulators.

Trainings range from a general introduction to the core concepts in the Guiding Principles to sessions focused on specific aspects and challenges of implementation. Our goal is to build participants’ capacity to drive change within their organizations, whether they are from government, business, civil society or beyond. We therefore tailor trainings to participants’ specific needs through practical, interactive and case-based training methods.

More on our training work and offerings

Shift President Caroline Rees moderated and spoke at the EU Roadmap to Business and Human Rights Conference in May 2016, hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MVO Platform. Photo courtesty of MVO Platform.

Legal Outreach Initiative

Through our Legal Outreach Initiative we have worked with leading law firms, in-house legal departments, the International Bar Association and national law societies to explore the legal profession’s role in implementation of the Guiding Principles. Our activities include training workshops for lawyers on how to advise their business clients on the application of the Guiding Principles, and strategic advice to law firms on how they can know and show that they are respecting human rights in line with the Guiding Principles. For further information about legal professionals' role in implementing the Guiding Principles, see our resources section on the UNGPs for lawyers.

Speaking Engagements

As an organization focused on dialogue and learning, we frequently speak at and moderate events on business and human rights. Our combination of expertise on the Guiding Principles and practical experience in their implementation enables our team to drive compelling conversations that go beyond the ordinary conference program.

For example, over the past year we have moderated and spoken at events organized by the International Organisation of Employers, the Dutch EU Presidency, the US Council for International Business, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, to name a few.

If you are interested in inviting Shift to moderate or speak at your event, please contact us.

Additional Education and Outreach Activities

As an educational non-profit organization, we share our learning and insights gained through our in-person engagements and collaborations via our online resource library. The library features a curated mix of baseline educational material about the Guiding Principles as well as thought leadership articles on key challenges and trends, and links to relevant collaborations.

Shift's President Caroline Rees also participates on behalf of Shift on the UN Global Compact's Task Team for the Blueprint for SDG Leadership, and we provide informal input to many other efforts on implementation of the Guiding Principles.

See all activities and content related to this program

IBA Practical Guide on Business and Human Rights for Business Lawyers

June 2016 | International Bar Association

This foundational guidance, issued by the International Bar Association, is designed to help bar associations and business lawyers everywhere understand the Guiding Principles.

Adding Human Rights Punch to the New Lex Mercatoria

October 2015 | John G. Ruggie and John F. Sherman III; Oxford Journal of International Dispute Settlement

This article argues that the Guiding Principles add significant “punch” to the private law of contracts when major international businesses require their partners and suppliers to comply with the Guiding Principles.

The UN Guiding Principles for the Business Lawyer

February 2014 | John F. Sherman III, Shift; Juriste International

This short article lays out why business lawyers need to understand the Guiding Principles and consider human rights as part of due diligence they perform for clients and companies.

The UN Guiding Principles: Practical Implications for Business Lawyers

January 2013 | John F. Sherman III; In-House Defense Quarterly

This resource focuses on the significance and implications of the Guiding Principles for corporate lawyers and the role of lawyers in meeting client business goals while respecting human rights.

Are There Risks in Knowing and Showing?

October 2012 | John S. Sherman III; Shift

Former corporate lawyer and Shift General Counsel John Sherman argues that potential concerns about conducting human rights due diligence are more than offset by the benefits of doing it.

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