Business, Human Rights and the Environment Research Group

News and media

Our media appearances:

Professor Olga Martin-Ortega in Scholars in the Spotlight: Olga talks to Fakar Raza about global supply chain, slavery in 21st century, human desire to create material at the cost of human dignity and re-imagining role of powerful organisations.

Professor Steven Haines in Clyde & Co | Superyachts: Superyachts | Ep. 3 | Human Rights at Sea on Apple Podcasts

Webcast: Enhanced spaces for stakeholder participation and access to information through mHRDD On April 26th Professor Martin-Ortega participated in the exciting discussion organised by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute on THE MOMENTUM FOR mHRDD IN THE EU (Webinar series). Olga discussed enhanced spaces for stakeholder participation and access to information through mHRDD and the potential for the EU initiative to address corporate transparency and due diligence from a human rights approach and cristalise a right to know for all stakeholders impacted by corporate abuse. Webcast available here and on the RWI On Human Rights podcast. The participants for this first Webminar were: Chair: Malin Oud (Raoul Wallenberg Institute); Radu Mares (Raoul Wallenberg Institute) – EU’s CSR journey from voluntarism to mHRDD; Cecilia Ekholm (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) – Why Sweden supports mHRDD and where does this law fit in the ‘smart mix of measures’ on Responsible Business Conduct; Olga Martin-Ortega (University of Greenwich) – Enhanced spaces for stakeholder participation and access to information through mHRDD; Greg Priest (Head of Social Impact and Human Rights at Inter IKEA Group) – How do companies reason about this new EU Directive and why some companies came publicly in support of mHRDD.

Awards and recognition

Outstanding Achievement in Research

Professor Olga Martin-Ortega won the GRE Outstanding Achievement in Research in 2019, for her wide-ranging research on modern slavery and human trafficking in the global supply chain, and its impact on Government policies and policy approaches.

Green Gowns Awards

Our work to combat modern slavery in public supply chains was a finalist in the Research with Impact Green Gown Awards. We partnered with the London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC) and the Local Government Association (LGA) to create a system to support public buyers in their public procurement. The system is named after Olaudah Equiano, a writer and abolitionist, originally from Nigeria and former slaved who lived in London in the 1780s and was, after purchasing his freedom in 1766, one of the leaders of the anti-slave trade movement. Equiano is a low-cost alternative to private systems to conduct human rights due diligence in supply chains. It is a collaborative research-based effort, the first and only of its kind, designed for public buyers to engage with suppliers in order to assess human rights risks of those who make the products and provide the services that they procure. It is distinctive in that it is tailored to the public sector. Its innovative approach results from a marked element of supplier engagement and through this interaction a deepening of the relationship between public buyer and supplier to understand the risks and design solutions in partnership. A main focus was to transfer knowledge and capacity both within the research team (from senior members to students) and from academics to professionals – public buyers and suppliers - and viceversa. Through this work BHRE members were able to better comprehend the impact of its theoretical research on human rights in supply chains and how it is applicable in the context of public procurement and LUPC and LGA members, participating public buyers and suppliers learnt of the legal and ethical responsibilities of the public and private sector with regards to those in their supply chain. This unique collaboration we believe has transformed the way the public sector thinks and acts on their roles and responsibilities towards those in its supply chain, and is a key step to sustainable and responsible public consumption. The project evolved into SUSTAIN, currently developed by the Advance Procurement for Universities and Colleges, in Scotland, and LUPC.