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Mary Robinson Speaker Series

Our flagship annual event, founded in 2010, provides a platform for advocates working in business and human rights. Every year we convene a panel of experts from across the field, who are led in discussion by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

An Introduction

Each year the Mary Robinson Speaker Series spotlights emerging issues in the field of business & human rights. It looks to move forward the debate, by bringing together people from business, investment, legislative and human rights communities, as well as voices speaking on behalf of those most impacted by egregious human rights abuse.

2020: Building a Just Recovery: Workers' views on the post-pandemic economy

The COVID-19 pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated deep inequalities between companies and the workers and communities they depend on. Too often, businesses hit hard by the pandemic have pushed the worst impacts to the very bottom of their supply chains, to the most vulnerable workers. There are many possible paths to recovery, but a rapid return to business-as-usual will serve only to perpetuate these deep inequalities. This year’s first-ever digital Mary Robinson Speaker Series will welcome labour voices from hard-hit communities and regions and global thinkers, who together will discuss the path to a just recovery.

Previous Events

Turning up the Heat (2019)

With keynote speaker Ikal Angelei, Director of Friends of Lake Turkana in Kenya, panellists discuss solutions from indigenous peoples and progressive business to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Business & Civic Freedoms (2018)

In Southeast Asia, countries that not long ago were improving the protection of fundamental rights are regressing. We explore the role of companies, examining cases where the private sector has been complicit, and where a critical role has been played to push back against repressive government action.

Modern slavery in the Americas (2017)

Whilst the global spotlight on modern slavery often falls on Asia and the Middle East, workers in the Americas also fall victim to this threat, which is indicative of far more endemic problems. The panel, including Leonardo Sakamoto (President, Repórter Brasil), discuss efforts to ensure worker voice and strengthen due diligence in global supply chains.