Past events

Introduction to Business and Human Rights and Human Rights Policies

11 Apr

12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

Event Details

The Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) invites you to an introductory webinar on business and human rights, the first of four in our business and human rights ‘101’ webinar series.

We will be joined on the webinar by Dr David Cooke, Managing Director, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia and Kate Hughes, Chief Risk Officer, Telstra. Vanessa Zimmerman, Director, GCNA and Chair, GCNA Human Rights Leadership Group will lead the webinar.

This webinar will introduce the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) – the authoritative global reference point on business and human rights – and build business’ practical capacity to manage their human rights-related risks and meet growing expectations to ‘know and show’ that they are respecting human rights.

The webinar will unpack the origins of international human rights standards and why and how they are now being applied to business. The webinar will also explain the foundations of the UNGPs and how they tie in to the UN Global Compact, the Sustainable Development Goals and other key sustainability initiatives. Participants will be provided with an outline of all of the elements of the business responsibility to respect human rights which will be the focus of the rest of the series.

The webinar will then explore the first element within the responsibility to respect human rights, the development and integration of human rights policies.

This webinar will discuss:

  • What human rights are
  • How human rights are relevant to business
  • The business case for respecting human rights
  • Key human rights norms and standards applicable to business, including the UNGPs
  • How the UNGPs fit with other corporate sustainability frameworks and standards
  • How to develop a human rights policy – first steps in meeting the business responsibility to respect human rights


The webinar will hear from leading Australian business representatives, Dr David Cooke, Managing Director, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia and Kate Hughes, Chief Risk Officer, Telstra.

This webinar will be led by Vanessa Zimmerman Director, GCNA and Chair, GCNA Human Rights Leadership Group. In addition to advising business as well as working with a variety of stakeholder groups was a Legal Advisor to Professor John Ruggie, the author of the UN Guiding Principles, in his capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights.

Why join?

Businesses face growing expectations from governments and regulators, NGOs, business partners, investors and other stakeholders to ‘know and show’ that they respect human rights both at home and abroad. Further building this momentum, in 2016, the Australian Government will begin formal consultations on a potential National Action Plan on business and human rights.

It is now critical for businesses to understand how to manage their human rights risks, and demonstrate that they are meeting their responsibilities. It is also important that businesses are equipped to participate in key policy discussions such as any forthcoming National Action Plan consultations. These webinars will bring businesses up to speed on the business and human rights agenda within Australia and globally, and outline the practical steps they need to take to manage their risks and meet their responsibilities on human rights.

Who should participate?

The webinar series is an essential core awareness-raising program for business on how to manage risks and meet growing stakeholder expectations around human rights. It is aimed at those new to business and human rights or looking for a refresher. While information will be provided about recent developments in the business and human rights field the series is targeted at those without extensive knowledge of the UNGPs. Other events will be held throughout the year to build on the series and to update members on new business and human rights initiatives and do some ‘deeper dives’ into specific issues.

The webinars are relevant for representatives from a wide range of business functions, including CSR / sustainability, community / stakeholder engagement, human resources, procurement, risk and compliance, legal and public affairs. The webinars are targeted at all sectors and companies operating both within and outside Australia. As a result they will not focus on any one thematic issue such as labour rights though relevant cross-sectoral examples will be brought into the discussion.


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