Just 10 years ago, talking about Human Rights in the corporate sphere wasn’t even an option. Today, thanks to the work of pioneers in public affairs and corporate social responsibility, respecting and promoting Human rights is not only a reality on paper, but it’s also a reality in everyday corporate strategies.
It is a great opportunity today, we are here at the European Development Days to discuss business and Human Rights and how companies can and must integrate Human Rights into their daily business strategy and business reality. This is something that only 10 years ago would have not been even possible to think about. Today, it’s not only a reality on paper, but it’s also a reality for everyday board decisions. It’s a question of not only why it is necessary to do so, but also for companies now it’s a very important question of how to do so.
This integration of Human Rights strategy has to be done in a very collaborative approach with other important stakeholders like Mazars, who are helping other companies to pull things together and make sense of it. This means trying to combine business rationale with other values.
It is possible, although it’s not rosy, it’s not easy. It’s only the beginning of the journey, and the journey is going to be very long. And as Professor Ruggie (Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government) has said, what has happened so far is only “the end of the beginning”.