First of all, we would like to warmly thank the students and recent graduates that participated in our first Graduate Paper Challenge on “How should the modern-day company incorporate Human Rights into its strategy?”. All of these great contributions will remain here on our Shared Value Platform for your viewing pleasure.
An 8-person internal jury scored each paper on the following criteria:
- Quality of writing (clear, academic, structured)
- Originality of the argument
- Completeness, coherence and feasibility of the proposed solution
Our first place winner, Fabiana, proposes a five-step process to “help a company move from mere declarations of commitment to respecting and promoting Human Rights towards embedding the fundamentals into everyday business”: Increasing employees’ knowledge of human rights; Moving from commitment to strategic implementation: leadership and cross-sector strategy; Engaging stakeholders; Monitoring and articulating impact; Acknowledging shortcomings and a willingness to improve.
You can read Fabiana’s article here: From commitment to everyday business
Our second place winner, Ricardo, offers a slightly varied list of ways in which companies can embrace Human Rights, society and the environment in their strategy: explore business models that involve the communities as strategic partners; include societal and environmental challenges in the scope of the company and tackle said challenges with a business mind-set; consider strategic partnerships with societal entrepreneurs and NGOs; expand the time horizon of strategy (who and where do we want to be in 50 years? In 100?); have a more comprehensive view of stakeholders when discussing strategy; devise metrics and KPIs to track societal and environmental impact; evolve the operations & processes to be sustainable in the long term; include externalities in ROI calculations; focusing HR practices to increase diversity and improve dignity for workers. `
Ricardo’s article is here: The Human Rights imperative: Aligning Strategy with Human Rights, Society, and the Environment
And our third place winner, Ciara, provides us with this strategic explanation: “Once there are positive relationships between each worker with another, between each worker and the community, and between the business itself and the wider community, and within each relationship a comprehension of the meaning of human rights is understood and respected, we will have achieved an incorporation of human rights sufficiently. Simply engaging in corporate responsibility projects is not nearly enough for the modern company. Each must act in a proactive manner, rather than a reactive manner, to all tasks and strategies it will implement, keeping its commitment to upholding a high standard of ethical behaviour throughout”.
You can read Ciara’s piece here: Human Rights for Sustainable Development and Success in Business
Thank you again to all our participants and congratulations again to our three winners, three pioneers who are on their way to helping companies go beyond CSR and start creating shared value!