Finance and Human Rights – Strange Bedfellows?

Guest post by Chintal Barot and Carey Bohjanen for Business Fights PovertyOriginal article here.

BFP article

“Finance and Human Rights are really in their early stages of their bedfellowness.”
– Professor John Kinley in his opening remarks at the recent
UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

The context
The Simandou Mountains that stretch across the tiny country of Guinea hold one of that country’s best chances for economic progress and for releasing it from the chokehold of poverty. Simandou is a veritable treasure trove of natural resources: it has for example, one of the world’s largest deposits of iron ore. How these resources are developed in the near term, balancing the dire need for economic development with the complexities of environmental stewardship, protection of human rights and enabling benefits to local communities, will determine whether Simandou can help raise Guinea from its current low economic standing (e.g. the country is ranked 178th out of 186 countries in the UN Development Programme’s Human Development). Guinea’s ability to address these challenges may be most acute in the extractive industries context but, interestingly, the financial sector is increasingly finding itself drawn into the debate on its role in encouraging more responsible and inclusive development, given the fact that it raises and provides financial solutions to underwrite such extractive development.  Continue reading


Environmental and Social Risk Due Diligence in the Financial Sector: Current Approaches and Practices [report]

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned this report on behalf of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct as a first step in a dialogue on what the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises mean for the day-to-day practice of the financial sector. In particular, this project report seeks to identify financial institutions’ current environmental and social due diligence practices, perception and application of the concept of supply chain responsibility as embedded in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Ministry hopes that this study will help to inform stakeholders and other parties interested in the dialogue on responsible business conduct in the financial sector. Continue reading