Engaging the G20 on business & human rights

"Brandenburg Gate" by Wolfgang Staudt licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Initially organised by major economies in response to the Asian financial crisis in 1999, the G20 began as a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors to meet once a year and discuss international economic issues.  Since then, focus has expanded from primarily economic crisis issues to include nine pillars of economic development. This includes infrastructure, private investment and job creation, human resources development, trade, financial inclusion, food security, governance, and knowledge sharing.

The collective leadership of the G20 presents an opportunity for the business and human rights movement to get big issues related to our work discussed at a high level, with the possibility of broad commitments from governments. However, this forum, as an advocacy target for business and human rights issues, is relatively under-explored and we are only just seeing momentum from the likes of ICAR and the German Institute to engage significantly.

After the 2015 German G7 Presidency pledge to promote safe and sustainable supply chains, this years G20 presents another opening for business and human rights issues to be placed on the international agenda. This blog series looks to encourage dialogue on the opportunitites and challenges in engaging the G20 on issues of business and human rights.




G20: Do leaders mean what they say on modern slavery

How seriously should we take G20 leaders on modern slavery and human rights due diligence if trade union rights are repressed?

Cindy Berman, Head of Knowledge and Learning, The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) 







Taking the G20 at its word: suggestions for immediate & effective measures to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking

Voices at the G20 summit have claimed that to:“eradicate modern slavery around the world, we need to go much further”. This calls for mandatory human rights due diligence and supply chain reporting.  It is up to the G20 to ensure that ‘immediate and effective measures’ are given a mandatory character and are not forgotten in between Hamburg and Buenos Aires, where the 2018 G20 summit will take place.

Claudia Müller-Hoff, Programme Coordinator & Linde Bryke, BeJust Fellow, Business and Human Rights Programme, ECCHR







G20 and Modern Slavery: What next?

If the G20 leaders are serious about ending modern slavery and securing fair and decent wages, it is not rocket science. There are clear and existing policies they could collectively deliver. Acting together, G20 states would make a profound difference.

Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre 


How stakeholders are pushing for commitments to responsible & sustainable supply chains at the G20

The 2017 G20 Summit is well poised to make bold commitments and engagement groups from across stakeholder perspectives are working to ensure that it does.

Cindy S. Woods, Legal and Policy Associate, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable.



From the G7 to the G20: Building momentum towards responsible business conduct

The divergence between leadership commitment within the G20 Labour Minister's setting and the 2017 G7 process, shows the importance of strong leadership in raising responsible business conduct as a core topic on the agenda.

Marta Bordignon, Co-Founder, Human Rights International Corner.




Driving G20 commitments toward bolder action: Protecting rights in global supply chains

The G20 Labour and Employment Ministers' commitments are important, as they move the international agenda on global supply chains forwards and bring on board allies from within the G20. But the work does not end here; bolder action is needed.

Juliane Kippenberg, Associate Director of Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch.



Tackling the challenges of globalisation: Why human rights should be central to G20 decision-making

G20 members need to do much more than ensure financial stability and boost trade and investment. These leading economies can and should use the G20 as a platform for promoting fair and sustainable economic development by recognising the centrality of human rights in all aspects of human activity.

Joshua Rosenzweig, Business & Human Rights Strategy Advisor/Analyst, Amnesty International




People before profits? The myth that job creation delivers sustainable supply chains

With G20 nations accounting for 80% of world trade, their leaders have a responsibility to promote job creation – and decent work and fair wages. It’s why being serious about developing sustainable global supply chains and generating inclusive economic growth means putting people, not profits, first. 

Ben Rutledge, Senior Advisor – UNGP’s on Business & Human Rights, Ethical Trading Initiative