Research projects Business, Human Rights and the Environment Research Group

Current research projects in the BHRE Research Group.

Current research projects in the BHRE Research Group includes:

Socially responsible and sustainable supply chains

The governance gaps associated with globalisation and international business activities give rise to a need to find more effective ways to ensure that human rights, adequate labour standards and environmental protection are recognised within global supply chains.

Research in this area includes work on legal mechanisms through which to address supply chain problems, the implications and operationalisation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in supply chains and the development of effective processes for monitoring supply chain conditions and addressing grievances.

Socially responsible public procurement and the electronics industry

We have been working closely with Electronics Watch, a consortium of NGOs and associated partners which aims to improve working conditions in the global electronics supply chain including through public procurement.

As part of the Informal Advisory Group, we have worked directly with Electronics Watch on the development of key aspects of the initiative including due diligence guidance, a code of labour standards and contract performance clauses.

We host a series of workshops on socially responsible public procurement. In June 2014 we hosted a workshop on 'Socially responsible public procurement' which was attended by key external bodies such as TFL, People & Planet, the Fairtrade Foundation and several London boroughs. The second workshop is scheduled for December.

Our work on public procurement in the electronics industry is also reported in the policy paper 'Promoting responsible electronics supply chains through public procurement' (January 2015).

Extractive industries, human rights and community relations

The standard of corporate human rights due diligence is becoming central to the definition of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. The normative development of the standard has taken place within the framework of the national and international efforts to regulate conflict minerals and break the link between mining and financing of illegal armed groups. Our work has explored this regulation and its impact on the development of due diligence requirements and practice.

Also within this area of work, William Rook is engaged with doctoral research into the legal framework governing mining and local communities in parts of Africa. The research seeks to understand the complex legal and regulatory relationships between key actors including local communities, multinational corporations, international institutions and home and host states and to understand the implications of these in terms of particular rights.

Ms. Veronica Torres' doctorate looks at land use and human rights in the context of the extractive and agribusiness industries in Latin America.

Business, Children and Human Rights

Business activities may have a significant impact on human rights of children, positive and negative, direct and indirect. Consideration of the role of the private business sector with regards to the fulfilment of children's rights is relatively recent. International attention on the effects business activities have on children has been fragmented until now, focussing on specific sectors, mainly child labour and economic exploitation. Recent international developments, addressed to states and business enterprises, propose a more comprehensive approach.

Our work in this area explores the international policy and legal developments in this very recent area of research, undertaking a comprehensive approach which takes into consideration all the actors involved in the protection and promotion of children's rights, and moves away from a solely state-centric conception of international human rights obligations and responsibilities.

Business, Human Rights and the Environment Research Group is part of the Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities, University of Greenwich.