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Madeleine Koalick: Assessing Corporate Human Rights Impacts – Lessons from Kenya

In 2012, we supported Kuoni, the Swiss travel company, to design and implement their first HRIA and I experienced first-hand the value of such a process for understanding business risk and defining a sustainable business strategy...One important insight from the HRIA in Kenya was that local stakeholders and affected groups don’t want charity. What they want is to be able to earn a living through, and have a say in tourism development...[I]t was particularly interesting to see the close alignment between the socio-economic development challenges and business interests. The unequal distribution of benefits from tourism, and the widespread exclusion from the tourism economy, are contributing factors to wider social and political unrest...Other high-risk issues such as the sexual exploitation of children are also exacerbated by economic exclusion and enduring poverty...The findings from the HRIA have emphasised the business argument for a proactive, inclusive and rights-respecting approach to doing business...[T]he UN Guiding Principles promise to be transformative for business approaches in developing countries.