A unique program, carefully crafted to support companies that are serious about respecting human rights
Shift’s Business Learning Program supports companies that want to strengthen their human rights approach. Rather than doing the work for them, we help businesses build the internal capacity they need to meet their responsibility to respect human rights. We do so because we believe that true commitment to human rights means being willing to do the heavy lifting to transform processes, structures and mindsets. It requires stepping out of the office and engaging with those who are affected the most. And it means going beyond cosmetic changes and off-the-shelf fixes to put in place coherent, long-lasting solutions.
That is why we’ve designed a unique approach that focuses on supporting companies as they work to identify their most pressing human rights issues, prioritize those that put people at greatest risk and implement enduring solutions to prevent, mitigate and remedy harm.
Participants come from a wide variety of industries – pharmaceutical, food and beverage, energy, apparel, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), retail, technology, among others. Some are just getting started on their journey. Others have been with us for years, and continue to find value in our partnership as they face new challenges and complexities.
Benefits of the Program
Our promise is to provide frank advice that is principled, supportive and relevant to the reality of each business.
TAILORED STRATEGIC & OPERATIONAL SUPPORT
Business Learning Program participants work with our Shift experts to design a work plan that prioritizes action in a principled way, while factoring in the specific needs and challenges of the business. The scope of our work with businesses varies widely depending on the challenges that each company faces, but our mission-driven approach is the same.
Participation in a unique, cross-industry network, where companies can safely engage in discussions and share learnings on the challenges they face when implementing the corporate responsibility to respect. Many participants also find opportunities to launch collaborative initiatives with their peers to tackle common challenges.
ACCESS TO OUR FLAGSHIP WORKSHOPS
Every year, Shift hosts two Business Learning Workshops, where companies discuss their challenges, explore solutions and dive into specific business and human rights topics.
One of them is designed to offer participants who are new to business and human rights an introduction to the UN Guiding Principles in practice. The other, co-hosted with the Corporate Responsibility Initiative of the Harvard Kennedy School, is for more experienced participants and takes a deep dive into the application of the UNGPs concepts to specific contexts and challenges.
FULL ACCESS TO ONLINE LEARNING RESOURCES
Throughout the year, Business Learning Participants have access to thematic webinars on specific business and human rights issues.
In the coming months, our Business Learning Participants will also gain access to the new Business Learning Portal, a library of resources and tools exclusively available to them.
Criteria for Admission
We are purposely selective about who we work with.
We like to think of our Business Learning Program as a two-way street. On the one hand, we support companies as they build the capacity and systems that they need. On the other, each engagement that we have is an opportunity to expand our own knowledge and understanding of how the UNGPs are put into action.
That is why we are careful about who we partner with for the long term. We want to make sure that those who join are serious about taking action, they are open to exploring innovative approaches, and that they show potential to make meaningful change happen. _______
Evidence of high-level commitment to business and human rights
Demonstrated organizational capacity to drive the implementation process
Support for our broader, mission-driven learning approach
AB InBev joined our Business Learning Program in 2019.
Our joint efforts initially included helping internal stakeholders understand what it means to respect human rights in the banking context and enhancing the bank’s human rights disclosure as well as engagements with select clients and other stakeholders. Our work now focuses on helping ABN AMRO strengthen its human rights due diligence processes in relation to its corporate clients and has involved capacity-building sessions for client relationship managers in higher-risk markets.
Sector: Energy and Resources
Our work together has explored the practical application of a human rights lens to BHP’s climate change adaptation strategy in alignment with the UN Guiding Principles. Other areas of work include supporting the company on developing its human rights training for employees, developing a human rights policy statement and enhancing the company’s work on the rights of indigenous peoples.
Chanel joined our Business Learning Program in 2019.
A significant part of our initial collaboration focused on supporting the development of the company’s first stand-alone human rights policy and the development of related policies and processes. This was followed by conducting a gap analysis to feed into recommendations for enhancing the company’s human right strategy. Shift is now supporting Equinor with capacity-building for key functions as the company moves further on its journey as a full-spectrum energy company.
Ericsson has been a member of Shift’s Business Learning Program since 2012.
Sector: Food and Beverage
Ferrero has been a member of Shift’s Business Learning Program since 2018.
Sector: Food and Beverage
Our collaboration began with a gap analysis of the company’s policies and practices against the UN Guiding Principles and support on the identification of salient issues. These processes were informed by workshops to assess and prioritize human rights impacts in HEINEKEN’s own operations and the value chain of three operating companies in different regions.
This work helped HEINEKEN to develop a new human rights program and a new Human Rights Policy, which are being implemented across the organization, including through further human rights workshops in 16 countries.
Shift’s support includes helping those operating companies understand how salient issues manifest at ground level and how to respond accordingly. In the context of COVID-19, we began work to adapt and deploy a virtual approach that markets could use to identify and address risk to people. Our collaboration also included the development of an approach for doing business in high-risk contexts (with an initial focus on Africa), including guidance, a methodology for prioritizing, and a capacity building workshop for Managing Directors.
We provided feedback on the company´s new Supplier Code, HEINEKEN’s brand promoters policy and on implementation guidelines for their Human Rights Policy. Shift facilitated a peer dialogue on human rights for companies in the beer, wine and spirits industry, initiated and hosted by HEINEKEN. Learn more about HEINEKEN’s work on human rights here.
Given the size and complexity of its business, we have explored a number of approaches to embed respect for human rights throughout the Hitachi Group Companies, including the development of a due diligence guide to operationalize the company’s commitment to human rights. More recently, we have focused on building the capacity of specific functions – including human resources and procurement – to conduct human rights due diligence at the global level and to participate effectively in cross-functional processes at the company level. Shift has also supported Hitachi in developing stakeholder relationships.
Inditex joined the Business Learning Program in 2018 in line with our aim of incorporating and sharing best practice in social and environmental sustainability. We initially conducted a workshop to further identify and prioritize salient human rights issues. Subsequent work has helped us to hone in on these issues in key sourcing markets and to strengthen the human rights due diligence process throughout all areas of our business beyond the supply chain.
ING has been a member of Shift’s Business Learning Program since 2021.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has been a member of Shift’s Business Learning Program since 2020.
Sector: Fast-moving Consumer Goods
L’Oréal joined Shift’s Business Learning Program in 2020.
Our work with NEXT has ranged from building capacity and understanding around the UNGPs to introducing a salience-based approach to risk assessment in their supply chains. We have also provided guidance on addressing human rights risks in specific business areas.
Sector: Food and Beverage
We have worked closely with PepsiCo to help focus the company’s efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles. For more than three years, we have supported the company in identifying and prioritizing its salient human rights issues and developing mitigation actions for responding to those issues. We have also strengthened the capacity of key individuals within various departments on human rights and have provided coaching and advice on the application of the UNGPs to a number of different scenarios.
Furthermore, Shift assists the company in aligning its human rights disclosures with the UNGP Reporting Framework and will focus with the company on strengthening its stakeholder engagement approach in the coming year.
Procter & Gamble
Sector: Fast Moving Consumer Goods
P&G has been a member of Shift’s Business Learning Program since 2017.
Total has been a member of Shift’s Business Learning Program since 2014.
Shift has helped UPM develop and analyze self-assessment questionnaires for their various sites across the globe and facilitated the roll-out of a new human rights approach for all HR staff. Following a workshop to help identify salient human rights issues at corporate level, Shift helped UPM undertake due diligence at a specific facility in Uruguay to help the management team address potential human rights issues connected to the site. This process also informed the site management’s understanding of these issues with the perspectives of affected stakeholders, built the capacity of UPM staff and equipped them with the methodology to undertake interviews for qualitative research elsewhere.
To learn more about Shift’s Business Learning Program and inquire about current availability, contact us at info [at] shiftproject [dot] org. You can also visit our BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT page to learn more about other ways in which we work with companies and their stakeholders.
Visit our CONTACT page to learn more about other ways to connect with Shift.
BUSINESS LEARNING PROGRAM
February 2021 | Discussion Draft
"Signals of Seriousness" for Human Rights Due Diligence