As the world weathers the health and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, human rights are at stake too. The pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities that exist in our societies and has deepened different forms of inequalities. Global value chains are not immune, as many businesses have reduced or ceased their operations due to lockdowns. This has resulted in many workers being laid off or working without adequate safety measures, leaving them at risk of infection and their rights exploited.
To mark Human Rights Day, observed annually on December 10, the International Cooperative Entrepreneurship Think Tank (ICETT) is hosting an online discussion on how cooperatives practice, protect and promote human rights in value chains. An initiative of the International Cooperative Alliance, the ICETT was launched in 2018 to strengthen cooperatives through innovative ideas, research and education.
The panelists will share inspiring stories and best practices, illustrate the value of cooperatives in local and global value chains, and discuss how cooperatives can conduct Human Rights Due Diligence across their operations and value chains. Join them on Thursday, December 10 at 8 a.m. EST (2 p.m. CET) to be part of this conversation.
Cooperatives, human-centered enterprises
Respecting human rights is central to the cooperative movement. In 2018, ICA members approved a declaration on decent work and against harassment at work places. They committed to respect, promote and act diligently to support the fundamental tenets of decent work—namely freedom of association and full recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; an end to child labour; and the elimination of discrimination in employment and every form of work.
The movement’s commitment falls in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which acknowledge that companies should undertake human rights due diligence measures to ensure their operations do not contribute to human rights abuses; instead, they should respect them.