IICA Seminar on BHR to Ensure Social Sustainability of Businesses

Businesses must prioritize sustainability to both profits and planet.

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A new cadre of Business and Human Rights (BHR) Professionals has been established in the nation by the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), an independent organisation working under the direction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. IICA officially communicated the significance and relevance of BHR leaders and professionals in the nation during a Curtain Raiser Event for the plan to create and nurture business and human rights professionals.

Shri Devendra Kumar Singh, the Secretary General of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), attended as the event’s chief guest. Sean Christopher Lees, BHR Specialist, UNDP Asia Pacific, Bangkok, Shri Praveen Kumar, Director General and CEO, Shri Inderdeep Singh Dhariwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, Shri Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Caste, Government of India, and Shri R. Mukundan, Managing Director also spoke at the event.

The need for developing a cadre of BHR Professionals in India was emphasised by Shri Devendra Kumar Singh, Secretary General of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and Shri Praveen Kumar, DG&CEO of IICA. The NHRC’s mission statement is “Let everyone be happy,” and it adheres to a human-centric philosophy. To assist corporate professionals in developing specialised knowledge and competencies to transform human rights obligations into actual strategies and useful activities, IICA has established a programme on business and human rights.

Mr Sean Christopher Lees, BHR Specialist, UNDP Asia Pacific, highlighted that rising stakeholder demands, international agreements, and national laws had compelled firms to operate in a way that is sustainable for their bottom line and the environment. He described his observations of BHR policies and their implementation in various Asia-Pacific regions. He also stressed that India is progressing towards achieving economic and sustainable development goals and that a balanced strategy will guide the nation to a sustainable future. He claimed that industrialization significantly impacted technological and economic development internationally and in India and that this expansion had raised particular issues concerning upholding human rights in business.

The joint secretary of the Indian government’s Ministry of corporate affairs, Mr. Inderdeep Singh Dhariwal, provided his knowledge on BHR implementation in various Asia-Pacific nations. The need to incorporate business and human rights into company policies and practices was emphasised by Dr. Garima Dadhich, Head of the School of Business Environment at IICA. The first programme of its sort in India, “IICA Certified BHR Professional Program,” aims to close the implementation gap for BHR practises. The Indian government has taken several steps to ensure that corporations respect the rights of others. MCA has consistently emphasized encouraging sustainable business and inclusive growth.

To foster responsible governance, the MCA has periodically amended the Companies Act. The National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP-BHR) and National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct have been created by the government. (NGRBC). Regarding treating everyone equally, Mr. R. Mukundan, Managing Director & CEO of Tata Chemicals Ltd., highlighted the principle of human rights for enterprises. He also emphasised the need for BHR integration into corporate policies and practices to reduce business risk. Among the other dignitaries in attendance were Ms. Sudha Rajagopalan and Dr. Ravi Raj Atrey, Chief Programme Executive, IICA.

One hundred fifty senior company officials enrolled in the programmes attended the occasion. The collaboration between UNDP, the European Union, and the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs for promoting BHR through corporate capacity-building programmes was emphasised by Ms. Nusrat Khan, BHR National Specialist, UNDP India.