Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Preview: BSR Conference, Wednesday

Today, the first full day of the conference, is packed with cool panels and speakers. Here's a highlight of the events I will be attending.

Jeffrey Wright

Actor Jeffrey Wright is co-founder of the Ebola Survival Fund and is on the advisory board of the United Nations Democracy Fund. He tweets at @jfreewright about his efforts to #CrushEbolaNow.

Breakout Session: Responsible Business in Myanmar

Mai Oldgard, Vice President and Head of Sustainability, Telenor Group
Marcus Chung, Vice President, Social Responsibility and Vendor Compliance, The Children's Place
Fiona Sadler, Director, Ethical Sourcing, Marks & Spencer

It appears the discussion will focus on proactively engaging stakeholders to catalyze sustainable development. I will primarily be looking for any efforts by these companies to protect the Rohingya Muslim minority against human rights abuses. I will also be interested in how they address child labor and their approach to developing in conflict areas.

Additional information:

Nils S. Andersen

Nils Andersen is Group CEO of The Maersk Group, a global trade, shipping, and energy company, operating in 130 countries. Maersk's sustainability focuses on three areas:

  • Energy efficiency - increasing trade and economic opportunities while improving energy efficiency of their global transport supply chains and reducing carbon emissions from their containerized transport
  • Enabling trade - improving conditions for businesses and industries to participate in global trade by reducing external barriers to trade, providing transport and logistics to local farmers, and engage with governments regarding infrastructure improvements
  • Investing in education - training and education to build skills in growing markets, encouraging diversity in enrollment, targeting women and communities currently unable to access education opportunities

This is a broad strategy and I don't know where Mr. Andersen will focus, but I hope he spends some time discussing Maersk's anti-corruption efforts, as well as their progress toward integrating the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights throughout their operations.

Breakout Session: Innovative Approaches to Sustainable Supply Chains

Kelly Goodejohn, Director, Ethical Sourcing, Starbucks Coffee Company
Tu Rinsche, Manager, International Labor Standards, The Walt Disney Company
Greg Priest, Head of Sustainability Policy, IKEA Group
Deborah Kops, Managing Principal, Sourcing Change

As always, I'll be interested to hear if, and to what extent, Starbucks, Disney, and IKEA have integrated the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in to their supply chains. I'll also be interested in if and how Sourcing Change prioritizes human rights through supply chain change management.

The BSR Conference runs Tuesday through Thursday, in New York. The Agenda and link to a livestream of selected events can be found here. Follow events at #BSR14 on twitter and stay tuned for more from me!

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