BANGKOK, 12 June 2019 - The Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum opened today in Bangkok to discuss how the business community and its stakeholders can advance human rights and sustainable development through better business practices.
The two-day event, taking place as part of the Bangkok Business and Human Rights Week, brings together representatives from government, business, workers organisations, civil society and academia for wide ranging discussions on addressing gender inequality in global supply chains; decent work; tools to tackle climate change; the future of work in Asia and beyond; human rights considerations in global investment practices; and shaping policy to create an enabling environment for responsible business conduct and the implementation of due diligence.
Asian economies play an integral role in international trade and investment. It accounts for 43 per cent of global value chain intermediate exports and 38 per cent of global value chain intermediate imports.1 The Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum underscores the importance of joint action between business, governments and the international community to support the implementation of responsible business practices in Asia.
This multi-stakeholder approach is a significant feature contributing to the effectiveness and relevance of the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme financed by the European Union (EU) and implemented together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the (OECD) in six countries: Japan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. The programme aims to address decent work and environmental challenges through the promotion of responsible business practises across supply chains using the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, ILO Tripartite Declaration and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which allows business to navigate their impacts on the people and the planet responsibly.
“Businesses are clearer today than at any point in history about the need to address the negative impacts of their activities and the need to maximise their positive contribution to development. Responsible Business Conduct has to become the new normal across the whole global supply chain if we are to achieve the SDGs”, said Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD in the opening panel of the Forum.
“Restoring trust in corporations to care for our interests is one of the most important issues of our age. We need to revisit what it means to be a successful business and the ways that business can become a critical partner in achieving the SDGs by transforming into “sustainable enterprises,” observed Emily Sims, manager of the ILO’s Helpdesk for Business.
Hilde Hardeman Director and Head of Service, Foreign Policy Instruments of the European Union, which along with Sweden is a co-founder of the Forum, addressed audiences on a panel on Business and Human Rights in Global Trade and Investment.
"The EU has been very much committed to promoting responsible business practices. Not only because this is ethically the right thing to do but also because it reinforces business competitiveness. Doing business responsibly with our trading partners can open up new opportunities and lead to more sustainable profits and growth."
1 UNCTAD-Eora GVC Database
Notes to editors
The Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum is a multi-stakeholder event addressing an array of priority issues under the Responsible Business Conduct and Business and Human Rights Agendas. The #RBHR Forum will take place during Bangkok Business and Human Rights Week, 10-14 June.
The Forum is co-organized by the Royal Thai Government, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), International Labour Organization (ILO) and with the participation of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. The Forum includes the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct and is co-funded by the European Union and Sweden.
For more information on the Forum, visit: https://www.rbhrforum.com/
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