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Opinion

Introducing our “Just Recovery” blog series

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) have come together to create this blog series to seek answers to the question:

“Amidst the tragedy of the pandemic, how can the movement for social justice in business set a radically different course towards a just recovery?”

The coronavirus pandemic has been a global experience – a fact which should alert us all to our interconnectedness, and spur the search for collective solutions. The speed with which COVID-19 spread and the fact nearly every business, worker and community in the world has been affected are sobering reminders of those links. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the inequalities of power and wealth in markets. Nevertheless, this disruptive moment also creates opportunities for systemic economic change towards great shared prosperity, and an opportunity to put human rights, racial justice and environmental protection at the heart of future business models.

While initial focus was on the immediate health crisis, too many businesses focused on trying to return as quickly as possible to the same old. The reality of life with COVID-19 should give us all pause. It’s a moment to avoid a return to the unsustainable status quo, and instead create futures that address our major challenges of inequality and climate breakdown. The blog series will investigate the changes necessary in business, investors, and markets to enhance our collective resilience to increasing shocks through a new social contract, and a just transition to zero-carbon economies. It will look at re-purposing the corporation; regulation and business incentives to redirect companies to respect human rights and the environment; and new tools to deliver greater collective resilience through this transition, including social protection and rebalancing the power of stakeholders in companies towards workers and communities.

Nearly a year in, we are well past the ‘unprecedented’ stage and overdue the ‘how are we building resilience’ part. There is widespread concern at the lack of international leadership from governments, and from business to collaborate towards transformation. Our intention in this blog series is to bring together the diverse but shared vision for an ambitious just recovery from thought-leaders across our movement for human rights in business, and from around the world.

Our movement for corporate accountability has powerful evidence, analysis and propositions for a just recovery. We have prepared this series of reflections to highlight our vision for a future in which workers and communities play an active role at the heart of a just recovery. This platform for dialogue aims to drive debates forward, strengthen collective propositions and inspire broad collaborations for the work ahead.

We hope these blogs inspire thought, conversation and collaboration as we continue to understand and address the scale of COVID-19’s impacts. Thank you in advance for your participation in the series, and in the work that follows.

In solidarity,

Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Alison Friedman, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)

Phil Bloomer, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Just Recovery from COVID-19

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Collaborating for a just recovery

Fiona Reynolds, CEO, Principles for Responsible Investment 10 Dec 2020

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Building Forward Better: Thoughts on Intergenerational Justice

John Morrison, CEO, IHRB 18 Dec 2020

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A New Social Contract

Sharan Burrow, ITUC 23 Dec 2020

View Full Series