Business has an important role and responsibility to respect human rights around the world. From modern slavery to digital privacy, respect for human rights must be core to every business decision.
While many companies have established formal corporate responsibility and human rights programs, seldom do these programs have a seat at the table when critical business decisions are made—often with disastrous consequences for human rights. The Human Rights and Business Initiative (HRBI) was launched in 2015 to question the status quo and advance the concept of rights-aware, decision making in business.
Our mission is to equip current and future business leaders with the attitude and aptitude to work constructively with business to ensure respect for human rights. Established as a joint initiative between Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center and the Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley Haas, we leverage UC Berkeley’s world-class institutions to pursue a vision of a world where all companies respect human rights.
For more information, please contact Faris Natour.
We offer dedicated courses on human rights and business and we also work to embed human rights in core business disciplines taught at the university through guest lectures, cases, and student projects. With this approach, we increase the aptitude of future leaders in corporate responsibility, while ensuring that all business leaders have the awareness and basic understanding of their companies’ human rights responsibilities. We also build connections across the UC Berkeley campus to integrate a business lens into traditional human rights courses taught at the university. It is our hope that all human rights advocates understand the importance of engaging constructively with business to address human rights challenges.
We develop research that applies academic rigor to create actionable insights and tools for practitioners working to advance business’ respect for human rights. We create case studies that can be used in class to teach core business disciplines and in business to advance best practices. Additionally, we provide opportunities to spur innovation in the business and human rights field through competitions, hackathons, student projects, and other experiential learning opportunities.
The world’s most pressing business and human rights challenges are too big for any single actor to address alone. Housed at a globally recognized academic institution, we have the unique ability to bring together stakeholders from business, civil society, government, and academia to work together to address business and human rights challenges. We believe multi-stakeholder collaboration is essential to addressing the systemic challenges that are at the root of many human rights abuses involving business. We use our convening power to foster meaningful dialogue and collaboration through conferences, speaker series, webinars, and ongoing working groups.
About the HRBI
Hear from HRBI leaders Jesse Nishinaga and Faris Natour discuss the initiative’s goals and unique positioning between the Haas School of Business and UC Berkeley School of Law.