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Weekly Update - 23 September 2015

Lead Story
Climate Week: Spotlight on role of business contributing to & tackling climate change
  • Unilever CEO Paul Polman receives UN Champion of the Earth award for leading business world towards "new model of sustainable growth"
  • new blog series: expert analysis at the nexus of business & climate justice
  • live-stream & follow (#FrontlinesToParis) our Mary Robinson Speaker Series event - "Climate justice and business: Human rights from the frontlines to Paris" (6-8pm EST, 23 Sep)
Philippines: Carbon major firms face human rights complaint on climate change for the first time

Greenpeace; Inquirer (Philippines)


(Photo credit: Greenpeace)
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa
From us

From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Corporate Legal Accountability Bulletin highlights trends in climate litigation, includes latest updates to cases around the world
  • focus on holding companies accountable for contributions to climate change & using litigation to push for stronger regulation of companies’ climate impacts
  • includes updates to case profiles & new additions: RWE lawsuit (re climate change impacts in Peru), IGR lawsuit (re water rights in Mexico)
  • also available in French, Russian & Spanish
Latest blogs on corporate legal accountability project: New on our Company Action Platform: Response by Daimler on its human rights policies & practices
UN Working Group on business & human rights report reviews existing initiatives to measure implementation of UN Guiding Principles
  • provides recommendations to govts., companies, civil society, academics, natl. human rights institutions & UN system
Report by UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly & association finds States provide more favourable environment for businesses than for civil society & associations

Policy paper: "Litigation (im)possible? Holding companies accountable for sexual & gender-based violence in the context of extractive industries"

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

BG Group publishes revised company-wide human rights approach, refers to alignment with UN Guiding Principles

Further to last week's Update: Cricket responds to Access report raising privacy concerns over use of "tracking headers", which allow monitoring of web browsing
Nigeria: La Casera workers claim company dismissed hundreds following their decision to unionise; company denies claims

Bella Naija; Vanguard (Nigeria)

Kenya: Worker turned human rights advocate recounts experience of confronting toxic lead smelter allegedly leading to miscarriages & illness

Geographical (UK)

Big business in Africa urged to factor climate change adaptation into strategy

Institute for Sustainability Africa, in Independent (Zimbabwe)

Brazil: Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders condemns murder of farm worker representative & calls attention to other attacks on human rights defenders
  • violence allegedly linked to loggers & ranchers accused of illegal logging in environmental reserve & indigenous territory
Investors disagree with US court conflict mineral decision, say it grants companies right to conceal important information

Responsible Sourcing Network, Boston Common Asset Management, Calvert Investments, Trillium Asset Management, US SIF & Walden Asset Management

  • court's opinion states companies have a First Amendment right not to be forced to state whether their products are “found to be DRC conflict-free”
Bolivia: Govt. crackdown on NGOs criticising extractive projects threatens open debate around extractive industries, says commentary

Emily Achtenberg, on

Asia & Pacific
Thailand: Appeals court upholds dismissal of one of several cases against human rights researcher Andy Hall


  • other criminal cases continue over defamation linked to report exposing labour rights abuses in pineapple industry; penalty up to 7 years of prison in 2nd case
  • we contacted six additional companies that were reported to purchase from Natural Fruit and asked them to provide a statement on the case; CV-Trading & St Mamet Conserves responses provided; John Bull and Sandhurst Fine Foods declined to provide a statement; Alceda and Iska have not responded
Bangladesh: 4 workers killed, 4 injured in accident at shipbreaking yard; trade unions calls for stricter health & safety requirements

IndustriAll Global Union

China: Google reportedly planning to return to mainland market with censored app store

Wall Street Journal

Cambodia: Rubber company Hoang Anh Gia Lai to halt development of 10,000 hectares of its land concession following talks with villagers

Inclusive Development Intl.

  • indigenous communities cited impacts on livelihoods, culture & land rights in previous complaint to World Bank's Compliance Advisor Ombudsman
Papua New Guinea: Barrick Gold’s assessment of its grievance mechanism for sexual assault victims fails to meet intl. standards, says MiningWatch Canada
  • NGO letter to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) claims the company's assessment does not meet OHCHR's criteria
  • we invited Barrick Gold to respond - response provided
Europe & Central Asia
UK: Lidl to become first supermarket to implement the minimum wage recommended by Living Wage Foundation


  • applies to workers in England, Scotland & Wales, but not in Northern Ireland
Blog: "The UN Guiding Principles turned four, but where are we going?"

Stefan Crets, CSR Europe

Further to our previous Update: Cotton Campaign responds to firms' statements on whether they will be supporting Uzbek cotton harvest, amidst concerns that it will use forced labour
  • further responses by Telenor & VimpelCom provided
Middle East & North Africa
Turkey: Report raises labour rights concerns at ethically certified hotels contracted by subsidiaries of Kuoni, Thomas Cook & TUI

Schyst resande

  • we invited the companies to respond - responses provided
Qatar: National Human Rights Committee makes recommendations to Ministry of Interior on improving human rights situation of migrant workers

Peninsula (Qatar)

Egypt: Govt. to assess environmental impact of coal use by cement companies & ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Egypt Independent

Company responses Non-responses
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark consultation closes 2 Oct
  • seeking feedback from companies, investors, civil society & policymakers
  • available in EnglishFrenchPortuguese & Spanish
  • read some of the public feedback received so far
Forthcoming events:
  • corporate impacts on multi-dimensional poverty (New York, 26 Sep)
  • "Business & Human Rights: Bridging the Governance Gap" (London, 28 Sep)
  • do benchmarks & indexes drive change in business practices? (London, 29 Sep)
  • consultations on UN treaty on human rights & business (online, 29 Sep - 6 Oct)
  • managing climate risk via "public-private-people-partnerships" (New York, 29 Sep)
  • from advocacy to implementation on indigenous land & resource rights (Bern, 30 Sep - 1 Oct)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Internships at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Other current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
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