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2015 Australian Dialogue on Business and Human Rights
The 2015 Dialogue met with over 100 representatives to explore current practices, challenges and opportunities based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Dialogue heard from 26 speakers, on the topics of leadership on business and human rights, the business responsibility to respect human rights, access to remedy, and human rights in the supply chain.
Participants agreed that addressing these challenges requires strong cooperation and engagement from all stakeholder groups including potentially more targeted sector-specific work. The stakeholders also committed to engaging with government to consider the possibility of a National Action Plan on business and human rights.
2014 Australian Dialogue on Business and Human Rights
The 2014 Dialogue concentrated on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, the role of government, access to remedy and grievance mechanisms, bringing a human rights lens to Indigenous engagement and human rights in the supply chain.
The Commission and the GCNA will look to convene further national dialogues in the future.
Additional resources and guidance materials are available to assist business on specific human rights issues.
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Women’s Empowerment Principles offer practical guidance to business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Women’s Empowerment Principles were developed through a partnership between UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact. They are designed to support companies in reviewing existing policies and practices—or establishing new ones— to realise women’s empowerment. Over 800 business leaders worldwide support the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick is the Global Co-Chair of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Group which provides strategic guidance to the Women’s Empowerment Principles initiative.
Commissioner Broderick also guided the establishment of the Male Champions of Change in April 2010. The group brings together some of Australia’s most influential and diverse male CEOs and Chairpersons with the aim of using their individual and collective influence and commitment to ensure the issue of women’s representation in leadership is elevated on the national business agenda. In 2014, The Male Champions of Change partnered with Chief Executive Women to launch a free and simple management model, called ‘The Leadership Shadow’, which aims to help leaders everywhere to listen, learn and lead by understanding the impact of their personal actions.
Business and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Australian businesses can – and do – play a fundamental role in the realisation of human rights by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Many businesses are demonstrating their willingness and commitment to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and are increasingly using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) as a basis for their engagement. Recognising the value the Declaration can bring to corporate activities and operations the United Nations Global Compact developed a Business Reference Guide that provides practical guidance to businesses seeking to respect and support the rights of Indigenous people.
The Global Compact Network Australia has also established an Indigenous Engagement Working Group (IEWG) which the Commission is a member of, alongside a number of Australian businesses. The IEWG promotes the importance of positive Indigenous engagement, provides a platform for Australian businesses to share leading practices and collectively advance the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda has discussed the role of Australian business in his 2013 and 2014 Social Justice Reports and has made a commitment to work closely with business in the practical implementation of the Declaration.
Children and Business
Recognising that a child’s rights perspective was missing from the existing business and human rights frameworks, UNICEF, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children released the Children's Rights and Business Principles in 2012
. The principles guide business on the full range of actions they can take in the workplace, marketplace and community to respect and support children’s rights. Following the release of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, UNICEF and the Danish Institute for Human Rights developed a guide
to assist business to integrate children’s rights into impact assessments.