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22 Sep 2021

Philippe Sion

In Memory of John G. Ruggie: Tribute by Philippe Sion

"Mourning the loss of Dr. John Ruggie", 22 Sep 2021

Humanity United joins countless others around the world in mourning the passing of scholar and global human rights leader Dr. John Ruggie, the guiding force behind the development of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – known colloquially as the “Ruggie Framework.”

We recently wrote a joint op-ed with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre on the 10th anniversary of their adoption.

I had the honor of first meeting Dr Ruggie about 20 years ago soon after UN Secretary General Annan unveiled the Global Compact, in which John Ruggie had a lead role. At that time, John was essentially already paving the way for conversations we have today, including moving from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism, from corporate engagement to corporate accountability and the rise of ESG investments. The social economy has lost a visionary leader, but Dr Ruggie’s constant desire to create a more inclusive global economy will remain with us.

All those who work to help stop and prevent businesses from treating workers as a commodity and engaging in profit-first practices that embolden forced labor owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Dr. Ruggie. We must be steadfast in our efforts to bring life to his vision of a world in which businesses treat workers as humans to be treated with dignity, rather than a commodity to be obtained as cheaply as possible, and are held accountable when they do not.

Of the many writings on the passing of Dr. Ruggie, we encourage you to read the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre’s tribute to his life and work, as well as this eulogy in Foreign Policy magazine.