RUBEN ZANDVLIET | DEPUTY DIRECTOR
As Deputy Director for Standards, Ruben works with governments, companies, civil society organizations and investors to drive alignment with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in public and private standard-setting initiatives. In this role he focuses on mandatory due diligence and reporting regulations, working closely with Shift’s Vice President and Co-founder, Rachel Davis. He also supports Shift’s wider engagements with companies and financial institutions in relation to regulatory developments, and thematic work on strengthening the ‘S’ in ESG.
Prior to joining Shift, Ruben was Business and Human Rights Advisor at the Dutch bank ABN AMRO, where he was responsible for the coordination of ABN AMRO’s Human Rights Programme. Here, he helped embed the UNGPs into the bank’s corporate lending, project finance, retail banking and investment activities. Between 2016 and 2019, he represented the bank in the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on Human Rights, a ground-breaking multistakeholder collaboration between banks, civil society organizations, trade unions and the Dutch government, ingraining responsible business conduct into the global operations of participating banks. In 2017 Ruben co-authored ABN AMRO’s Human Rights Report, following the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, making it the first bank ever to do so.
During his time at ABN AMRO, Ruben was also a member of various expert groups on business and human rights. Within the Social Risk Working Group of the Equator Principles Association, Ruben worked to advance remedy in the context of project finance. And, as a member of the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group, he helped to inform the initial draft EU sustainability reporting standards. He has previously worked as a Policy Advisor in the Dutch Parliament, advising on corporate responsibility for human rights, and as a Public Affairs Advisor to the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.
Ruben has a PhD from Leiden University. His dissertation, which is published by Brill| Nijhoff, examines the ways in which trade and investment law both enables and constrains international labor standards. He is currently based in the Netherlands.