Business, human rights and sustainability

Fernanda Hopenhaym, member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, held a conference entitled “La sostenibilidad, la empresa y los derechos humanos”. The talk was followed by a dialogue between the main speaker and José Antonio Rodríguez Ranz, Vice-Minister of Human Rights, Memory and Cooperation of the Basque Government; and Juanjo Álvarez, Professor of International Law at the University of the Basque Country. The dialogue was introduced and moderated by Mikel Mancisidor, member of the UN Committee on ESCR.

Fernanda Hopenhaym analysed the major global challenges in the field of business and human rights, explaining in a very special way the work of the UN Working Group of which she is a member. She presented the key aspects of the Guiding Principles (Ruggie Principles) 10 years after their adoption. She also discussed the situation of the draft treaty on business and human rights and deepened the aspects that present the greatest difficulties today, so that they could be better understood. She finished the presentation by indicating the main keys for the future of public institutions and companies.

In his speech, Vice-Minister Rodríguez Ranz raised the subject of the role that non-state entities with competencies in this area could play in this global effort. Hopenhaym pointed out their possibility of participating in international spaces and encouraged the Basque Country to make progress in the approval of its own Business and Human Rights Plan, in coordination with the general efforts of the state, in order to organise its competencies better and to provide practical help to Basque companies.

On the other hand, Professor Álvarez mentioned the challenges that the Business and Human Rights issue presents for academic research, given that it is such a rich, dynamic and constantly evolving matter. In her dialogue, the speaker encouraged Basque universities to contribute to this global effort.

The meeting ended after questions both from the audience in person and from the participants who were following the event online.