Global Compact Principles – Human Rights – Teaching Materials

The United Nations Global Compact is an initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. By doing so, business, as a primary driver of globalisation, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology, and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere.

The UNGC and PRME put forth an Open Letter calling on academic institutions to educate future managers and leaders on the first two principles, both derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and

Principle 2: Business should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

The letter calls on schools to develop new courses and curricula around the topic of human rights. Academic Institutions are invited to sign the open letter through the Global Compact website.

The UN Global Compact has put together an incredible range of resources to assist companies in human rights, many of which can also be used by business schools, not only in CSR courses, but across all core courses. Here is a brief overview of just some of the resources available through the UN Global Compact and PRME around Human Rights.

DilemmasForumThe Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum is an online space aimed at stimulating discussion about dilemmas multi-national companies may face in their efforts to respect and support human rights, when operating in emerging economies. It holds a wide range of resources that can be used in the classroom, including dilemmas for discussion, case studies from UN Global Compact members and discussion boards, and even PowerPoint modules that can be used in training. The site covers a wide range of different topics within human rights including but not limited to forced labour, privacy, working hours, conflict minerals, and freedom of association.

human-rights-and-business-learning-toolAnother resource is the Human Rights & Business Learning Tool. This is an online course aimed to help managers in companies to understand the importance and relevance of human rights. The course consists of five modules: an introduction to human rights, respecting and supporting human rights, complicity, and remedy, including dispute resolution. Each module includes text to read, links to additional information, and some questions that could be used in the classroom for discussion. Students could easily be directed to go through this material as part of a required or recommended element of a course.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 15.11.28Good Practice Notes are a series of short (5-20 page) documents that aim to identify practical solutions to commonly occurring human rights dilemma situations. They are not focused on any one company, but rather reflect the experiences and practices of a number of companies. Topics include Integrating Concern for Human Rights into the Mergers & Acquisition Due Diligence Process, How Business Can Encourage Governments to Fulfil their Human Rights Obligations, and Developing Corporate Human Rights Polities and the Role of Legal Counsel. These could easily be used as additional readings in a range of core courses.

DialoguesIf you are looking for some case studies, signatories of the Global Compact have put together a series of case studies on how specific companies have approached human rights, available for download through the site. They also provide a range of short webinars that could be used in the classroom, including the PRME Webinar on Human Rights and Business. The website additionally includes documents and readings around specific focus areas in human rights, such as reporting, grievance mechanisms, legal accountability, and guides for investors. Initiatives targeting topics such as water, children’s rights, and indigenous people’s rights also exist with a range of documents available for classroom use. For an overview of the entire collection, the UN Global Compact has a guidance document with the human rights materials they have produced, and suggestions on how to use them.

WEPsIn March 2010, the UN Global Compact and UN Women launched the Women’s Empowerment Principles, aimed at helping the private sector focus on promoting gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community. In response to this, the PRME Working Group on Gender Equality, composed of a number of dedicated faculty, created the Gender Equality Resource Repository – a regularly updated web platform with teaching resources and case studies for integrating gender equality into a variety of disciplines, such as accounting, economics, marketing, and management.

– How have you incorporated Human Rights into the curriculum? What materials are you using? Share your experiences in the comments section below.-

Using Online Games to Teach Sustainability – Business Sector (part 2)

As we saw in part 1 of this series, games and simulations are a fun way to not only educate individuals about sustainability issues but also to help come up with some real solutions. In part 2, we look at a growing range of games created by some of the world’s leading businesses and NGOs, many of which look at the challenges of being a CEO or manager in companies where sustainability is increasingly important.

  • Chevron and the Economist group developed Energyville, a game where players work to power a virtual city through 2030 while keeping the economic, environmental and security impacts low in the choices they make.
  • CEO2 is a game developed by the WWF and Allianz where users are challenged to run a successful company while reducing CO2. The game puts the player in the role of CEO in one of four major industries from 2010 to 2030.
  • BT has a range of games available on their website which each last approximately 30 minutes. Better Business Dilemmas Game focuses on how to manage social and environmental issues in a business.  Better Business Choices tests entrepreneurial skills by designing a business that is profitable, responsible and sustainable.  Intrique 2016 challenges players to limit carbon emissions by keeping their carbon score as close to zero as possible.
  • IBM released the online game CityOne, which helps users discover how business process management, collaborative technologies and service oriented architecture enable industry solutions that help organisations and industries adapt to new demands and build a sustainable advantage. The game looks specifically at water, energy, banking and retail.
  • McDonalds developed a game as a way to explain to their customers the challenges of running a business, including some of the negative impacts that corporations such as theirs have on society and the environment, from rainforest destruction, to working conditions, faulty advertising campaigns, food poisoning, etc.
  • The Deloitte Business Simulation Game (not free) is designed to accelerate the implementation of corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives via stakeholder engagement and development of leadership capabilities.
  • Novo Nordisk has developed three online games. The Business Ethics Challenge looks at how to deal with business ethics issues in a day-to-day business situation while ensuring a balance between sales targets and company reputation. EnviroMan looks at climate change and how you strike the right balance between economy and environment. Finally, The Convincer has players work to convince the Minster of Health to invest in ways to effectively address the rising challenges of the proper diabetes initiatives.
  • The BBC launched an online environmental game called Climate Challenge, which focuses on policy and sustainable development over a 110 year period. Players take on the role of leader of an EU country and must choose which policies to implement, taking into consideration environmental effectiveness while managing the challenges of neighbour countries’ potentially conflicting policy choices and the ultimate challenge of re-election.

Do you use any games or simulations in your classes? Please share your experiences in the discussions area below.


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