New Zealand Law Society - Forum on tackling business human rights abuse being held next month

Forum on tackling business human rights abuse being held next month

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Leading experts on human rights will next month speak to businesses about how they can avoid committing violations in the work place.

From 9 to 11 August, the Human Rights Commission is holding the very first Business and Human Rights Forum in New Zealand.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue says the forum will be a great way to help kiwi businesses understand why respecting human rights is so important and give them the tools to start making changes. 

"Many don't know it, but human rights abuses are happening in our own backyard, with cases of exploitation in the likes of the hospitality, horticulture, viniculture and dairy industries. These sorts of violations pose a huge reputational risk to businesses and our economy," she says.

Dr Blue says she wants kiwi businesses to understand how human rights impact their business and arm them with the tools and skills they need to be able to assess the who, what, where, when and why of their products and ensure they are doing right by every person in their supply chain and business.

"There will be businesses throughout New Zealand already taking positive action in the human rights space, but may not know it. The forum will be invaluable to those keen to improve their understanding of human rights and find out how respecting them can be beneficial to their reputation and their bottom line," she says.

Dr Blue says the Forum is "not about pointing fingers or finding the bad guys" – it's about helping people to understand the case for embedding human rights into business practice.

The Forum will feature sessions including a Government roundtable in Wellington, and a workshop for investors and directors, a workshop for practitioners and a CEO breakfast in Auckland.