On February 16, participants from the private sector, development practitioners, policy actors and civil society organizations gathered to discuss sustainability challenges related to human rights at GRI’s workshop in Accra, Ghana. The workshop is part of GRI’s program “Advancing business contribution to sustainable development”, supported by the UK Department for International Development.
The goal of the workshop was to create better understanding of the impacts businesses have on human rights and how they can address these through sustainability reporting. “The workshop gave participants the opportunity to share views and practical experiences on identifying human rights impacts by businesses and how businesses can respond to these,” explains Douglas Kativu, GRI’s Regional Director Africa.
Human rights considered from multiple perspectives
As a process, sustainability reporting is a critical tool for creating greater transparency around the broad and complex human rights issues. While companies agree that human rights must be safeguarded by business, only a minority has human rights policies or strategies in place.
This is often due to uncertainty over which human rights issues to cover. The sustainability reporting process gives clarity about material human rights impacts and risks, both real and potential, and allows businesses to communicate their progress of managing these impacts. In addition to the human-rights related GRI Standards, participants were also introduced to other leading frameworks, many of which can be used in conjunction with the GRI Standards
The workshop was well received by the participants. “It was a good opportunity to learn about how to integrate human rights principles into sustainability strategies of my clients. I particularly enjoyed networking with other organizations and sharing ideas. The mix of participants gave me the opportunity to understand how human rights are viewed by multiple agents. I look forward to participating in more of such events,” said participant Mrs. Afriyie Ofori-Koree.
The next workshops on reporting and human rights will be held in Durban, South Africa on 8 March, and in Nairobi, Kenya on 6 April. Two workshops in Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa are being planned for June.
If you’d like to know more on these upcoming workshops, please contact: Mr. Douglas Kativu - Director GRI Africa Regional Hub at firstname.lastname@example.org. The workshop will also be converted into E-learning modules during Spring 2017.