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13 Dec 2021

Stella Wangechi (Kakuzi), The Standard (Kenya)

Kenya: Kakuzi official says company progressively adopting human rights practices, incl. grievance mechanism, after concerns were raised about its operations

"Enterprise must embrace human rights or perish"

The operating environment for many business enterprises is fast-changing, to one guided by human rights frameworks. For some, implementing human rights standards has come from negative experiences. Responding to such events in a responsible, proactive and progressive manner is the only correct way. Some businesses, however, continue to work oblivious of the need to mainstream human rights as part of their corporate operating pillars and strategies, and herein lies a huge risk. The uptake of human rights standards has been more prominent in countries from the global north. The uptake by countries from the global south has been relatively slow. This slow uptake has resulted in the misrepresentation and inaccurate view that justice cannot be served within judicial and non-judicial systems in countries such as Kenya...

Having faced allegations related to adverse human rights impacts, Kakuzi responded by implementing the corporate responsibility to respect as outlined in the UNGPS.  Respect under UNGPs means companies should not ‘infringe on the rights of others’ and should ‘address adverse Human Rights impacts with which they are involved’.

In any business, adverse impacts may occur despite a commercial organisation’s best efforts to prevent them. It is under this understanding that Kakuzi has developed and is implementing an OGM with the name SIKIKA, meaning “to be heard”.