At CRB, we understand Business and Human Rights are integral to the realization of India’s Constitutional vision of equitable and sustainable growth for all. For any economy to be resilient, it should be founded on just & fair inter-relationships. In India, the centrality of this philosophy is embodied in the Constitution as part of the fundamental rights & directive principles. Today, in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, we find business & human rights at the heart of the ensuing humanitarian crises. Globally, the pandemic has exposed & accentuated the fault lines that exist in our current growth/development models. There is a crying need to redefine growth and bring human rights to the centre of all endeavours to restore normalcy. There is today, both among businesses and its stakeholders, a growing acknowledgement of building “businesses with a purpose” that goes beyond conventional norms of shareholder capitalism. Rising to the need of the hour, CRB has intensified it’s work on business and human rights even more & will continue to do so in the following year as well.
The National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights is an evolving policy strategy developed by a state to protect against adverse human rights impacts by business enterprises in conformity with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). As a signatory to the UNGPS, India is obligated to develop a NAP that is aligned to the UNGPs (i.e. based on the Protect-Respect-Remedy framework) and premised on the local business contexts and needs.
Since January 2020, CRB has been actively supporting the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MoCA) in the process of developing the National Action Plan (NAP). CRB's role in supporting the Ministry in taking the NAP development forward has been multi-fold ranging from providing research support & technical inputs, facilitating multi-stakeholder consultations and meetings and offering secretarial support.
This Rights and Responsibilities (R&R) program was co-developed by leading apparel and textiles brands/buyers who source from Indian suppliers, many of who are SMEs. The aim of this intervention led by CRB, has been to help owners and managers of apparel factories understand the importance of protecting the rights of women workers, from the perspective of ensuring long-term business relations with these brands..
The Program employs five short films on key worker-centric issues – Health & Safety, Misconduct, Good Working Environment, Overtime, Worker Representation, as the primary training tool, and further provides the necessary reading & communication supporting material (in the form of a training manual and posters) and implementation support (virtual and in person) to equip and enable suppliers to effectively use these films to train factory workers, thereby driving increased awareness on their (worker) rights and responsibilities.
CRB partnered with Global March Against Child Labour (Global March) to develop a Practical Guideline for Child Friendly Supply Chains - for The Garment Sector. This Guideline has been developed to identify and mitigate human trafficking, particularly of children, girls and young women in the supply chain of the garments sector, especially for Dutch Companies with its production network in India and other developing economies. The Guidelines relies on the framework advanced by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and evidences/experiences of Global March and CRB on supply chain sustainability and human rights issues in the garment supply chain.
CRB undertook a detailed human rights due diligence (HRDD) exercise to assess human rights risks associated with the engagement of a large MNC energy company with contract workers and communities across its various portfolios in India. CRB has developed a detailed and robust methodology to undertake HRDD exercise, based on international tools/methods for assisting businesses to understand current/potential human rights risks, using the UNGPs framework. A HRDD exercise is a first step to initiate actions to address human rights problems related to business operations.