• Ryan MacInnis

Human Rights as part of your Business Strategy (with Michael Posner of NYU, Obama Administration)

Michael Posner single-handedly inspired me to change the way I think about my career. He has spent his advocating for human rights around the world, from his time as a lawyer to the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Labor, and Democracy in the Obama Administration, to founding the first Center for Business and Human Rights at a business school - at NYU.

On the second episode of my new podcast, "Building the Bridge", Mike and I talk about the role of human rights in a business strategy, and why it needs to be at the core of a globalized economy. The mission of the podcast is to interview those that sit at the intersection of business, technology, and policy to understand how the public and private sector can come together to build a better world for us all, and I fundamentally believe that this episode will change the perspective many have about their responsibility to fight for better rights in the workplace, in the supply chain, and every touch point where labor may be exploited in order to help a firm achieve revenue goals.

Rather than recap the whole episode with Mike, I wanted to share a few highlights from the episode that I hope will be enough to draw you in to give it a listen.

The globalization of the economy and access to information are driving even more focus on human rights. Because there is much greater availability of the Internet in places that have been historically shut off from the rest of the world, a human rights violation or something equally important happening in a country halfway around the world can gain international attention immediately. Similarly, as we've seen first-hand how much of our supply chain and vendor relations are tied to a globalized economy, large corporations such as Amazon, Disney, Apple, and others, are facing large challenges in ensuring that quality, justice, and dignity, are being taken care of from factories to warehouses around the world.

There is a generational change around mapping values to investments. Money we're investing in, or spending as consumers is being questioned to drive new energy into the market. Climate change, the environment, and human rights are all tied to a mission-driven lens that we're seeing in the world that are providing the winds at our backs that we need to hold companies, and their partners, accountable.

Companies that have senior leadership that are committed to human rights are most successful in that mandate. Once you have that commitment, you then need to have people inside the company feel empowered to work on it, and feel excited about its potential. Without the combination of executive blessing, plus the motivation by those in operations, technology, and other business roles to make an impact, good intentions will have empty impact.

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