Discover the impact of our work
STORIES OF CHANGE
India: Over 200,000 garment workers receive estimated USD 23 million in backpay after the Resource Centre complements advocacy by local groups and Workers Rights Consortium.
In December 2021 it was reported that over 400,000 garment workers in Karnataka, India, had been receiving wages below the legal minimum since April 2020. We asked sourcing brands questions on this wage theft via our company response mechanism (CRM) in early 2022. All 22 companies responded to us, with some shifting stances and committing to ensure workers receive owed wages. At critical moments, our CRM model complemented the vital work of local unions and the Worker Rights Consortium who were negotiating with these companies behind the scenes. As of July 2022, there has been an estimated $23.1 million in payments by these manufacturers to nearly 200,000 current employees.
Towards mandatory due diligence: the Resource Centre provides evidence and analysis to support a global legislative shift
Owing to the weakness of voluntary corporate action, there is a growing global movement to legally require companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence. We have supported this shift through delivering and disseminating our own and partners’ high-quality evidence and analysis on due diligence, with a particular emphasis on tracking business support for the measures. Together, our UN Guiding Principles and Mandatory Due Diligence portals, both available in over eight languages, received almost 100,000 page views in 2022. We also use our analysis and networks to offer interventions at crucial moments. For example, the EU due diligence legislative process is taking greater account of human rights defenders (HRDs) and the technology sector, after our evidence helped stress the importance of these areas to policymakers.
COP27: Resource Centre and partner letter on human rights in energy transition backed by coalition of over 200 groups
In November 2022, Egypt held the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). We marked this crucial event by co-authoring a letter with Indigenous Peoples Rights International to the UN climate change secretariat. The letter called for a human rights-based approach to the energy transition and aimed to strengthen the broader just transition narrative, by building on our extensive research into transition minerals, renewable energy, and civic freedoms and human rights defenders. It was signed by a diverse group of over 200 organisations from across the Indigenous Peoples' rights, women's rights, labour rights, land rights, environmental, climate and human rights movements. At COP27 events, several of our partners used arguments from the letter, and it was also picked up by international media, leading to journalists interviewing human rights defenders we put them in touch with.
Human rights defenders and SLAPPs: Company lawsuit against Honduran defenders dismissed
Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) are a tactic used by business actors who abuse the judicial system to harass and intimidate defenders of human and environmental rights. In May 2021 we produced the first-ever global analysis of SLAPPs as well as the first-ever public database of cases that bear the hallmarks of SLAPPs, which currently includes 172 cases. In March 2021, seven environmental defenders who had protested against the activities of poultry company El Cortijo were violently arrested and charged after the company filed a lawsuit against them in Honduras. During the following legal process, we worked alongside local partners to amplify the case, including engaging directly with the company. The Court of Appeals definitively dismissed the company’s case and declared the defenders innocent.
The affected community said: “We are deeply grateful for your support; undoubtedly the work you have done has had a great impact. Justice is a construction of which you are a fundamental part. We look forward to maintaining communication.”
ICT hardware KnowTheChain benchmark generates unprecedented responses from investors and companies
The ICT sector is one of the most significant global employers. The sector is at particular risk of human rights abuses as it relies heavily on low-paid labour in repressive conditions. Conflicts, COVID and the global inflation crisis have led to greater economic pressures within the sector and even higher risks of abuses. In early 2023, we launched our KnowTheChain ICT benchmark, along with a findings report, an investor briefing, and a Japan briefing to significant media response. The report analyses the disclosure and performance of 60 of the world’s largest global ICT companies on their efforts to identify and tackle forced labor risks in their supply chains. The KTC benchmark page received over 13,500 pageviews between January – March 2023. KTC is increasingly prompting investors and companies to re-evaluate their supply chains. Several benchmarked companies requested substantive engagement on their scores and findings. A number of prominent investors also use data from KTC and inform their engagements with companies.
Our website features portals on Big Issues, which bring together in one place key materials on subjects of particular interest. Some of our key portals are:
Natural Resources - The transition to net zero-carbon economies must be just and fair
Technology & Human Rights - The tech transformation brings human rights risks & opportunity
Human Rights Defenders & Civic Freedoms - Cases and action for human rights defenders & civic freedoms
Mandatory Due Diligence - Focusing on the global goal to legally require companies to undertake human rights due diligence
Gender, Business & Human Rights - Applying an intersectional approach is the most powerful way to end harm
UN Guiding Principles - Includes implementation tools, and information on the UN Working Group
Labour Rights - Supporting and advancing the labour rights demands of workers in global supply chains
Corporate Legal Accountability - Global resource hub on corporate legal accountability
For detailed list of media coverage of our work, see here.