USCIB teamed up with the Institute for Human Rights and Business on April 9 to organize a full-day workshop to highlight the recently launched Center for Human Rights and Sport. The event raised awareness to U.S. companies of the role of the new center, the connection between sports and human rights, and ways companies can engage.
Over fifty participants contributed to the dialogue over the course of the day, as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of State, former Olympic athletes, and other stakeholders.
“Business has a key interests on the issue of sports and human rights,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson in his opening remarks. “Through sponsorship, through the building of infrastructure, through the production of equipment and by providing services, just to name a few, business is linked to the world of sports and sport events. As part of its responsibility under the UN Guiding Principles, business needs and wants to identify and mitigate possible adverse human rights impact. However, the challenges that companies face in the area of sports and human rights often are systemic issues to which systemic responses are required.”
USCIB members from Nike, Hilton and Bechtel served as panelists during sector-specific sessions on leveraging relationships and partnerships across supply chains to ensure accountability and compliance with human rights and labor standards.
In addition to partnerships, Bechtel’s Global Head of Sustainability and Vice Chair of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee Tam Nguyen noted the benefits of using data analytics, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to create predictions about forced labor and human rights violations and provided an example of an application of these new technologies in the construction sector.
The Center’s first CEO Mary Harvey outlined main takeaways in her wrap-up remarks, which included the challenge in re-examining what leverage means for companies, the power and potential of accountability and collective action, and appropriate and effective mechanisms for grievance and remedy in sport.
USCIB will continue to follow this topic closely. At the next USCIB-IOE-Coca-Cola Conference scheduled for September 12-13 in Atlanta, there will be a panel dedicated to this crucial topic. At the end of the year, USCIB will participate in the ILO’s Global Dialogue Forum on Sports and Decent Work.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Center for Sport and Human Rights brings together a diverse set of stakeholders to work towards a world of sport that fully respects human rights by sharing knowledge, building capacity, and strengthening the accountability of all actors through collective action and promotion of the Sporting Chance Principles. In fulfilling this mandate, the Center is committed to being independent, principles-based, inclusive, diverse, collaborative, accessible and trusted.