Getting Rights…Right: How Companies are Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

In partnership with:
U.S. Institute for Peace
U.N. Global Compact U.S. Network
Ford Motor Company
Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America


For a policy brief created from the conference outcomes, click here.
Download the full document here.


To mark International Human Rights Day 2011, George Washington University, the UN Global Compact US Network, and the US Institute of Peace hosted a 1 day conference on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These principles, approved by the UN Human Rights Council in June, are designed to help business monitor its human rights impact. These guidelines clarified both the human rights responsibilities of states and firms and made them clear and actionable. Our speakers, representing business, civil society, the US Government, and academia, focused on practical approaches to implementing the Guiding Principles (the GPs).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

9:00am to 4:30pm


Grand Ballroom, 3rd Floor
Marvin Center
800 21st Street, NW

Thursday, December 8, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Grand Ballroom, 3rd Floor
Marvin Center
800 21st Street, NW


9:00-9:10 – Welcoming Remarks

  1. Stephen C. Smith (GWU)
    Dave Berdish (Ford Motor Company)

9:10-9:45 – David Arkless President and CEO, Global Corporate and Government Affairs, Manpower, “Why Firms Should Advance Human Rights: Manpower’s approach”


9:45-11:15 – Panel 1 – Addressing the Problems of Slavery and Human Trafficking

Moderator: Pamela Passman, President and CEO, Center for Responsible Enterprise And Trade (CREATe)

  1. Brenda Schultz, Manager, Responsible Business, Carlson Hotels Worldwide
  2. Samir Goswami, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Rule of Law, Lexis Nexis
  3. Jean Baderscheider, Vice President, Global Procurement, Exxon Mobil
  4. Jean Baderscheider – Exxon Mobil
  5. Karen Stauss, Director of Programs, Free the Slaves

11:15-11:30 – Coffee Break


11:30-12:00 – General Discussion: What should policymakers do to encourage adoption of the GPs?

led by Susan Aaronson

  1. Procurement set asides?
  2. Education?
  3. Corporate governance rules?

12:00-1:00 – Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero

  1. The Department of State’s Approach to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

1:00-2:00 – Luncheon Keynote

  1. Ursula Wynhoven (General Counsel, UN Global Compact) “The Case for Supporting Human Rights”
  2. Ursula Wynhoven – United Nations
  3. Gerald Pachoud, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary General, UN and former Senior Advisor, Special Representative on Business and Human Rights) “Business and Human Rights… and States”


2:05-3:35 – Panel 2 – How Business Should Operate in Conflict Zones

Moderator: Raymond Gilpin, Director, Center for Sustainable Economies, U.S. Institute of Peace

  1. Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President for Social research and Policy, Calvert Group
  2. Bennett Freeman – GE Audio
  3. Charlotte Wolff, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Arcellor Mittal
  4. Charlotte Wolff – Arcellor Mittal Audio
  5. Olav Ljosne, Regional Director of Communications, Africa, Shell Corporation
  6. Olav Ljosne – Shell Corporation Audio
  7. Jenny Vaughan, Program Officer, Conflict Management, Mercy Corps
  8. Jenny Vaughan – Mercy Corps
  9. Jenny Vaughan – Mercy Corps Audio
  10. Panel 2 – Entire Audio
  11. Panel 2 – Discussion Audio

3:35-3:50 – Coffee Break


3:50-5:20 – Panel 3: General Implementation of the Guiding Principles: Is it difficult to get buy in? Is it costly? What recommendations or roadblocks have you found?

Moderator: Susan Aaronson (GWU)

  1. Mark Nordstrom, Senior Labor & Employment Counsel, General Electric
  2. Mark Nordstrom – Fordham University
  3. Mark Nordstrom – Fordham University Audio
  4. Dave Berdish, Manager of Sustainable Business Development, Ford Motor Company
  5. Dave Berdish – Ford Motors
  6. Dave Berdish – Ford Motor Company Audio
  7. Motoko Aizawa, Sustainability Advisor, International Finance Corporation
  8. Meg Roggensack, Senior Advisor for Business and Human Rights, Human Rights First
  9. Panel 3 – Discussion Audio

5:20 – Conference End


Conference organized by:


  • Dr. Susan Aaronson and Kyle Renner, GWU
  • Dr. Raymond Gilpin and Amanda Mayoral, USIP
  • Thanks too to Ursula Wynhoven and the staff of the UN Global Compact for their help.



Ford Motor Company and the Heinrich Böll Foundation provided generous financial support to ensure a free conference.

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