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8 Aug 2016

Tobias Webb, Innovation Forum

Interview with S Group on company's decision to testify on behalf of human rights defender in Thailand

Should business defend environmental and human rights campaigners?, 2 Aug 2016

…Given the speed campaigns can run at in social media and increased expectation that business support human rights in their scope of influence, business leaders may need to get used to more actively using their voice against unjust arrest of individuals legally making efforts to support the worker and other human rights…[At] Innovation Forum we published this piece which shows how a company is trying to help a campaigner. As a follow up, [we] asked Lea Rankinen, [of the] S Group, the company taking the action, to offer…more insight. “We in S Group feel that the work of Civil Society Organisations is of great importance in developing working conditions and human rights in Thailand and others countries as well. To achieve transparency in supply chains we also need open and thorough surveys and dialogue. Such work should never be punished. It is in the interest of companies, too, to have a functioning civil society…Andy Hall asked us to give a testimony and as a responsible company we decided to testify…. To testify in the trial was… an issue which we…discussed at executive level… I think this case is actually very big change from respecting human rights to promote human rights…No matter what the result is, I hope this will be an example to other companies too to stand up in similar situations…"...[refers to Natural Fruit]