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Shift

“Shift is transforming the impact of business on society. The team at Shift is unparalleled in their ability to work with all stakeholders to translate the principle of corporate respect for human rights into everyday practice in alignment with the Guiding Principles.”

John Ruggie, Chair of Shift and author of the Guiding Principles

Our Story

 

Seven years ago, we laid the groundwork for change…


It was June, 2011. Our excitement easily overshadowed how exhausted we were. After five intense years of conducting research, facilitating dozens of consultations and engaging with thousands of people around the globe, our efforts had paid off. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, authored by Professor John Ruggie, had just been unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council. To many, it was the culmination of a project. To us, it was only the beginning.


Having closely accompanied Professor Ruggie throughout his mandate, we knew that the Guiding Principles would only be truly transformative if all parties who had come to the table would now get down to the business of implementation. Governments, businesses, investors, NGOs…everyone needed to do their part to put words into action. The three pillars were in place. It was now time to build a new paradigm for doing business upon them.


"That is how Shift was born: out of the passion that we felt -and continue to feel every day- for working to ensure that all businesses, regardless of size, sector or location, respect the inherent dignity of all human beings."

 

It has been that same passion that has taken us from an early startup working out of a small office in New York, to a robust, global organization with human rights experts in four countries and engagements across the entire world.

Today, our team works with a wide range of government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, leading international NGOs, trade unions, major investors and financial institutions, and many other actors to make that vision a reality. Every day we are challenging assumptions, pushing boundaries, and redefining corporate practice in over 25 countries, and across every continent. At the same time, we are equipping public institutions and markets to reward those businesses who know to put people’s rights first.


"Together, we are redefining the frontiers of business responsibility across a wide array of sectors, including oil and gas, mining, financial institutions, garment, food and beverages, and large-scale sports. Our aim is one: to build a world where business gets done with respect for people’s dignity. All the time, and everywhere."

 

And we are only getting started…

Now, we are leading the way into the future

Our nature, at Shift, is to be pioneers. As proud as we are of where we started, we find our deepest inspiration in where we are headed. We love to take the road less traveled and tackle those seemingly unsolvable challenges that can transform people’s lives for the better. Here are a few examples of what that means in our everyday work: 

  • Our business and human rights experts are providing companies around the world with practical, context-specific advice on how to ensure respect for human rights, including in high-risk locations and circumstances. Learn more about the work we do with the companies that we admit into our Business Learning Program.

  • In 2018, we launched an unprecedented collaborative platform, across four continents, to find better ways to evaluate corporate respect for human rights. Our aim is to help companies, their investors and other stakeholders work out the extent to which business efforts to respect people’s rights are actually making a difference in people’s lives. Learn more about Shift’s Valuing Respect platform.

  • When it comes to equipping markets to drive positive change, financial institutions – both public and private – are key agents of transformation. It is simple: money moves business and we want to make sure that it does so in the right direction. That’s why we invest a significant amount of time and resources in embedding respect for human rights across the world of finance. Learn more our business and human rights work with financial institutions.

  • From football to the Olympics, our team members have broken ground in the world of large-scale international sports, by helping to strengthen and guide the approach that some of the most prominent organizations in the world have to human rights. 

  • For years, we have been challenging companies’ human rights reporting to make it a more valuable means of knowing and showing how they are meeting their responsibility to respect human rights. We have mapped and analyzed the reporting of over 130 leading companies around the world. And we have helped dozens more in their efforts to align their reporting with the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles.

These are only a few examples of our latest projects. Our thirst for innovation is present in every engagement that we have with companies, governments, civil society organizations and others.

 

Our Funding


Shift is a US-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our current government and foundation supporters are:

  • United Kingdom - Department for International Development 
  • Norway - Norges Bank Investment Management 
  • Open Society Foundation
  • Humanity United

We also derive revenue from our Business Learning program, which covers advisory support provided under that program as supporting our broader work.

Where we work with a partner like an international organization or a multistakeholder or industry initiative, we typically receive funding directly from them for the project.

We can accept donations to which we apply a set of Board-approved criteria.

Our Team

Caroline Rees

Caroline Rees

President and Co-Founder
New York City

Rachel Davis

Rachel Davis

Managing Director, Co-Founder & Treasurer
New York City

Francis West

Francis West

Business Learning Program Director
London

John F. Sherman III

John F. Sherman III

General Counsel, Senior Advisor & Secretary
Boston

Barbara Koneval

Barbara Koneval

Operations and Finance Manager
New York City

David Kovick

David Kovick

Senior Advisor
New Hampshire, USA

Mark Hodge

Mark Hodge

Senior Associate
London

Mairead Keigher

Mairead Keigher

Reporting Program Manager
London

Daniel Berezowsky

Daniel Berezowsky

Communications Advisor
New York City

Sara Blackwell

Sara Blackwell

Advisor
New York City

Lloyd Lipsett

Lloyd Lipsett

Advisor
Montreal

Susannah McLaren

Susannah McLaren

Advisor
London

David Vermijs

David Vermijs

Advisor
Amsterdam

Michelle Langlois

Michelle Langlois

Reporting Program Advisor
Montreal

Nora Mardirossian

Nora Mardirossian

Reporting Program Advisor
New York City

Erika Piquero

Erika Piquero

Reporting Program Advisor
New York City

Tawny Tidwell

Tawny Tidwell

Operations and Communications Administrator
New York City

Anna Triponel

Anna Triponel

Project Associate
London

Our Board of Trustees

Caroline Rees

Caroline Rees

President and Co-Founder

Professor John Ruggie

Professor John Ruggie

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar

Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar

Board Member

Paul Druckman

Paul Druckman

Board Member

Edward E. Potter

Edward E. Potter

Board Member

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