2 April 2019
Human rights and social responsibility have become increasingly bigger issues for all business sectors. Customers, employees, investors, NGOs and government stakeholders are demanding that organisations are transparent on how they work, especially on their work around human rights in their operations and supply chains.
However, for many businesses turning policies and commitments into action has been challenging which is why the UN approved the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, 31 principles which businesses need to consider when it comes to managing their approach to human rights and mitigating the risks in their operations and supply chains. Understanding how to apply the UNGPs and operationalise a rigorous policy human rights is the theme of a free conference looking at how the tech sector can enhance their response to human rights risks.
This free one-day conference looks at what the sector has done, what more it can do and you will learn from a range of businesses how human rights issues have been approached. Specific issues include:
09:15 – 10:00 Arrival & networking
10:00 – 10:05 Welcome & intros
Antony Walker, techUK Deputy CEO introduces the event.
10:05 - 10:30 Presentation: Presentation: The UN Guiding Principles and the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: Susannah McLaren, Advisor, Shift
View from the leading center of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights on the expectations of the tech sector.
10:30 – 11:30 Panel: Risks across the tech sector – what we have learned so far?
Panel looking at what are the specific human rights facing tech firms in their operations and supply chains including regional variations, the role of partnerships, legislative requirements (ie the Modern Slavery Act, Conflict Mineral Regulation), identifying supply chain risks, labour rights plus where and how to do due diligence.
11:30 - 12:00 Networking break
12:00 – 13:00 Panel: Operationalising and embedding human rights across an organisation
This panel of practitioners and technologists looks at what companies are doing to implement and embed the UN Guiding Principles and how to ingrain a culture of human rights across often complex organisations. This includes looking at what companies need to do, what job functions, systems, processes, investment, policies etc need to be planned for and designed. The panel also looks at solutions and due diligence to ensure everyone is onside and building awareness internally.
14:00 - 14:25 Presentation: View from a non tech sector company & responding when abuses are found. Carly Bilsbrough, Global Operations Manager for Responsible Sourcing, Shop Direct
This presentation looks at how the retail sector has approached human rights to demonstrate what lessons can be applied in tech. The presentation will also look at due diligence, enforcement and how to respond effectively when instances of abuses have been found.
14:25-15:20 Panel: Tools, guides and benchmarks
This panel outlines some of the guidance and support available to businesses, how companies are judged and what written policies and guides are out there? Issues under discussion include the techUK cyber guidance, techUK human rights template and other available frameworks.
15:20 – 15:30 Networking break
15:30– 15:50 Presentation: Risks businesses may overlook: Bill Skeates, Supply Chain Manager, Sky
Why the sector needs to look beyond core production areas and take a wider view, looking at recruitment agencies, low-skilled agency staff, event staff and non-core products like uniforms, giveaways and trade show merchandise.
15:50 – 16:45 Panel: Future-gazing: what form will future tech sector human rights risks take?
The final panel of the day will examine the emerging and future human rights risks that the sector will face in the coming years and what businesses can do to best understand and mitigate these risks. For example, what new materials, regions, operating models will develop and what new auditing and compliance processes will be needed to effectively respond.
16:45 – 16:50 Close, thankyous & next steps
Craig Melson, techUK
16:50 – 18:30 Networking drinks