In 2012, Tracktwo was commissioned by the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights to help design and deliver an event series engaging private and state-owned Chinese businesses on the topic of sustainable business and human rights. The event series, entitled “Sustainable Business and Investment in the Global Context: Rights, Risks and Responsibilities”, was held in Beijing in April 2013, and consisted of a Business Executives Conference and a Roundtable for Practitioners aimed at business leaders and investors from China and abroad. The meetings explored the experiences of Chinese and international businesses and relevant experts, discussing investment in high-risk contexts, and how companies should implement respect for human rights. The event series was organised by the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI), the Global Compact Network China, the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, UN Global Compact, the Principles for Responsible Investment, and COSCO as a corporate partner. This event was the first of its kind in China, bringing together participants for a practical business-to-business discussion on sustainable business and human rights.

The Business Executives Conference was attended by over 200 participants. Participants included some of the largest and most prominent businesses from China and overseas. Almost half of the participants were representatives from Chinese businesses, including private enterprises and state-owned enterprises. The Roundtable for Practitioners on Risk Management and Human Rights brought together over 100 participants. This smaller event was an opportunity for businesspeople to enter into working sessions with corporate counterparts, from different industries and diverse corporate functions. Through deeper dialogue and discussions in small group working sessions, participants discussed how companies manage human rights impacts and risks, business management systems and processes they have in place and specific challenges that they are facing.

Speakers at the events included representatives from leading Chinese businesses such as China Mobile, COSCO, CPI Yunnan International, the China Development Bank and Sinosteel; from multinational corporations such as General Electric Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Shell, and Flextronics; international investors from ATP Investment Department, Hermes Equity Ownership Services and MN Services; and from international organisations including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Read the conference report in English here, or in Chinese here.

Throughout the rest of 2013, Tracktwo worked with GBI, Peking University and the Beijing Rong Zhi Corporate Social Responsibility Institute on a corporate learning project to follow-up on the event series and further strengthen knowledge about human rights issues and responses. Read about this project here.