Using Information on Human Rights Impacts to Drive Social Performance

New legislative requirements and stakeholder concerns have driven many companies to implement systems to identify address the potential human rights impacts of their operations. Companies increasingly realize the responsible management of human rights impacts helps mitigate legal, operational, and reputational risks.

That said, as companies begin to assess human rights impacts, they need to avoid the trap of treating these assessments as box-checking exercises. A large volume of information can be gathered through human rights due diligence, but it will be… More

Second Circuit Holds that the U.S. Government Can’t Order Microsoft to Disclose Customer Emails Stored in Ireland

Cloud computing security conceptIn a case closely watched by privacy advocates, on July 14, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) does not authorize U.S. law enforcement authorities to order U.S.-based companies to turn over customer e-mail content that is stored exclusively outside the United States.

In the case, Microsoft v. United States of America, Microsoft challenged a warrant requiring it to turn over customer data, including the content of emails, held on a company server in Ireland. The company argued that the SCA, one of the component… More

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

iStock_000011057325XSmallIt’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: a new lawsuit aimed at combating human trafficking in corporate supply chains; the release of the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report by the U.S. State Department; and a change in the Reporting Requirements on Responsible Investment in Burma.

On July 1, the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons released the 2016 Trafficking in Persons report, its annual review of the anti-human… More

Securities and Exchange Commission Issues New Rule on Extractive Industry Transparency

TransparencyOn June 27, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a new rule requiring extractive sector companies (oil, gas, and mining) to disclose the payments that they make to governments for the commercial development of oil, gas, or minerals.

The rule was enacted pursuant to Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which directed the SEC to issue a rule requiring extractive sector companies to disclose payments to governments, including both foreign governments and the U.S. federal government. As discussed in previous posts, the SEC originally issued a rule implementing… More

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

iStock_000011057325XSmallIt’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: a new guide for business lawyers from the International Bar Association that seeks to promote implementation of the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; the public release of Know the Chain’s first report benchmarking technology companies on efforts to address forced labor in their supply chains; and a major expression of investor support for the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark.

On May 28, the International Bar… More

Five Key Points about the New European Union Conflict Minerals Agreement

Gold NuggetOn June 15, the European Union announced that it had reached a “political understanding” on many of the substantive components of a new conflict minerals regulation. The regulation, once drafted, will be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for adoption. The final regulation will be applicable to all E.U. member states.

The European Union has been engaged in a multi-year process of negotiation and deliberation regarding the sourcing of conflict minerals. The following points summarize key elements of the new understanding and the expected content of the new regulation:

As with… More

U.N. Guiding Principles: Reflections on the Past Five Years

International Bar Association Conference on Law and Corporate Social ResponsibilityThis post was originally published on The Huffington Post.

Five years ago today, on June 16, 2011, the way we view the human rights responsibilities of companies changed. On that day, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “Guiding Principles”). This endorsement could have gone unnoticed except by those in the room at the… More

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

iStock_000011057325XSmallIt’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: new guidance for boards of directors on business and human rights; the launch of the Responsible Sourcing Tool; the release of the 2016 Global Slavery Index; and a new code of conduct in Europe by which American Internet companies have committed to taking actions to combat illegal hate speech.

On May 13, the U.K. Equality and Human Rights Commission, a independent statutory body, released Business… More

Corporate Supply Chains and the Elimination of the Consumptive Demand Exception

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President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 into law in February of this year.  In doing so, he eliminated the “consumptive demand exception,” a long-standing loophole in the general prohibition against the importation of goods made with forced labor.

U.S. law has long prohibited the import of “goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and… More

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

iStock_000011057325XSmallIt’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: new private and public initiatives on recruitment fees, including a proposal to further amend the U.S. Government’s Federal Acquisition Regulation to provide a clear definition of such fees; the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse; and an update to the U.K. Government’s National Action Plan to implement the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

On May 9, the… More