Starting in November 2009 with a business roundtable, GBI has been working closely with local partners in India, in particular the Global Compact Local Network, to catalyse business commitment to the corporate respect for human rights. Most recently, GBI has been supporting the launch of an India CEO Forum on Business and Human Rights.

Business and Human Rights Roundtable – A Focus on South Asia – 5 and 6 November, 2009, New Delhi, India

This roundtable brought together approximately 100 individuals, including 66 business leaders including representative from private and state-owned Indian companies and GBI member companies. Contributions came from a range of individuals and organisations including: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation; The Coca-Cola Company; Tata Motors; Jindal Stainless; ABB; North Delhi Power Corporation; General Electric; Tata Steel; Novo Nordisk; Advisor to the UN SRSG on Business and Human Rights; Human Security Human Rights Policy Section, Swiss Government; International Finance Corporation; India International Environmental Law Research Centre; Institute for Human Rights and Business; Global CSR and Chair, Danish Institute for Human Rights; and Hewlett Packard.

“Business and Human Rights are inseparable and must be understood in the right perspective. With business comes the element of varied abuse of human rights, although they may appear quite incongruous and in most cases the abuses are committed due to inadequate knowledge. However, it is because of a lack of understanding as to the constituents of basic human rights, when it comes to doing business and in profit making.” Rajiv Williams, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Jindal Stainless Limited, India

“Business can not leave the issues of right to health, right to education, right to development and rights fundamental to democracy for its communities or government alone.  The absence of these rights creates voids, weakens the foundation of business and makes it unsustainable. Business has to take a proactive role in ensuring and facilitating the access to these rights.  This is no longer a choice but a business imperative.” Dinesh Agrawal, Head of Corporate Responsibility, National Thermal Power Corporation, India

India CEO Forum on Business and Human Rights – Launch of a GCN India initiative, 13 February 2012

The half-day event on February 13 2012, brought together CEOs and senior leaders from 40 corporations including Public Sector Undertakings, Private Indian business and MNCs operating in India. The event was chaired by Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Infosys and Chair of the India CEO Forum on Business and Human Rights. GBI and some GBI member companies supported the Global Compact Local Network in the design and facilitation of the discussions.

The objectives of the meeting were – To have a frank and safe dialogue regarding Human Rights Risks, Responsibilities and Opportunities facing Indian business leaders, and to build commitment to a two-year India CEO Forum on Business and Human Rights. At the centre of the CEO Forum conception are key developments including the United Nations Global Compact principles and the United Nations Protect, Respect, Remedy Framework and Guiding Principles, and at a national level, the National voluntary Guideline on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

“The India CEO Forum on Business and Human Rights is a two- year initiative that will exist to advance human rights in a business context among Indian industry at home and abroad, and so establish India as a global leader in this critical and valuable area of responsible business. Such leadership will, I believe, increase our competitive edge globally and strengthen the relationship between corporations and the most vulnerable and marginalised here in India. The objective is to create Indian enterprises and markets that are based firmly on respect and true dignity for all – a bold but necessary vision if we are to fully realise our country’s potential.” Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy
Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Infosys
Chair of the India CEO Forum on Business and Human Rights