PASIG CITY, November 30 – Business for Sustainable Development (BSD), a leading non-profit for sustainable business practices, breaks ground in conducting its first ever face-to-face workshop since 2019, championing in Business and Human Rights (BHR) in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI).
After conducting two virtual workshop sessions on November 16 and November 23, BSD culminated the 3-Day Workshop last Thursday at the Discovery Suites Hotel. A melting pot of different human rights and business topics, with the theme: “Intersection of Sustainability, Technology, and Human Rights: Challenges and Solutions”.
Victor Joseph Obanil, Development Management Officer of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, introduced the workshop program with the spirit of multi-sector alliance. “The different government agencies, civil society, international organizations, the private sector, and the academe are our collaborators to further strengthen the advocacy on responsible business conduct and the operationalization of the UNGP BHR in the country. Only when we work together and share our learnings across our sectors can we move forward.”
The panel of distinguished speakers in the morning session consisted of: Dr. Radu Mares, Research Director of the RWI, the Program Director – Sustainability Management Program of BSD; and Dr. Juan Reyes, Program Consultant for Sustainability Management Systems of the De La Salle – College of St. Benilde, giving the participants cross-sector perspectives on Business and Human Rights, Due Diligence and Sustainability.
Dr. Radu remarked on the importance of collaboration between stakeholders in BHR “In terms of strategy for the businesses [to advance BHR], compliance with the law and international standards is one. There are many companies that are progressing and finding standards on good business practices. Pursuing innovation is another. Collaborating with other stakeholders is where innovation happens.”
The morning session concluded in an eventful open forum expertly moderated by Jazmin Angela Capati, the BSD Sustainability Associate.
During the afternoon session, Aboitiz Power Corporation, represented by Richard A. Cruz, the Vice President of Safety, Health, Environment, and Security presented innovative initiatives on how they use technology and mobile applications to enhance and encourage the safety of their workers. Workshop participants exchanged insights and feedback directly from the different BHR experts present to complement their presentations on the BHR solutions that they had been conceptualizing since Nov. 16. The final guest speaker, Philipp Dupuis, Head of the Economic and Trade Section of the European Union to the Philippines, shared valuable insights into the EU Approach on BHR. Philipp Dupuis, along with the representatives from the two groups engaged in another open forum directed by Jazmin Capati, to further deepen their understanding and close any possible gaps in their workshop outputs.
Closing the event, Ricky De Castro, Executive Director of BSD, delivered his closing remarks “Business is business, but in this time, where the reasons are compelling, you have to bite the bullet. Many are engaging in ESG, but one of the least focused areas is human rights. This is why the Business for Sustainable Development supports these activities—to promote areas in ESG that are not currently being focused on. We will remain your partner as you embark on your ESG journey and will continue to collaborate with organizations such as RWI and the EU to conduct more capacity-building activities.”
BSD strives to remind all its stakeholders that ESG goes beyond only sustainability and the environment. They are dedicated to spearheading educational and informative events, not only for sustainability professionals, but also for the wider community. As the organization is treading new ground, BSD is incredibly grateful for the star-studded panel of speakers and expresses its deepest gratitude for the trust and partnership of RWI all its participants and guests for a successful event in brand new territory.
Membership and Communications Associate