Key human rights challenges differ in each industry context. For example, technology companies need to address concerns over privacy and freedom of expression while companies in manufacturing and extractive industries need to focus on labor rights in their global supply chains.

We believe that companies that proactively confront these challenges will be more successful and better equipped for the future. In our work, we focus on human rights challenges that affect multiple companies, often companies in the same industry or even in the same value chain, but also across different sectors. Currently, we are developing business solutions to human rights challenges in the following focus areas:

Human Rights in Extractives

Cobalt mining site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Our work in the cobalt context involves conducting research on and assessing responsible sourcing practices of different players in the battery supply chain. We offer all stakeholders a safe space to discuss how to best integrate human rights standards in the Congolese cobalt mining industry and make recommendations that are supported by our independent analyses. We also develop case studies based on successful business models that address human rights issues and use them in our teaching.

Focus lead

This focus area is led by Prof. Dorothée Baumann-Pauly & Serra Cremer Iyi, in close collaboration with Michael Posner, Director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

Human Rights in Finance

Lilach Trabelsi presenting a graph in front of an audience

We aim at understanding and advancing the integration of human rights in the finance industry through conducting research, collaborating with financial institutions, and providing practical guidance, as well as through educational endeavors, such as the writing and publication of case studies.

Focus lead

This focus area is currently led by Prof. Dorothée Baumann-Pauly.

Human Rights and Security

Backs of two security officers

We support companies in the implementation of human rights policies in complex operating environments. Specifically, we provide practical guidance for companies to better understand the extent of their responsibilities to protect human rights and to improve security arrangements on the ground.

Focus lead

This focus area is currently led by Prof. Dorothée Baumann-Pauly.

Human Rights in Agriculture

Farmers in a field

Global agricultural supply chains are often characterized by seasonal and temporary work and strong reliance on migrant workers. This is why disruptions and crises, such as the one most recently caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, pose heightened human rights risks. Our work on the resilience in agricultural supply chains sheds light on the specific human rights challenges experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic by analyzing the impact that corporate and governmental responses to the crisis have on vulnerable worker groups.

Focus lead

This focus area is led by Dr. Berit Knaak.

Human Rights in Business Education

Teacher’s back in front of sitting students

As the first human rights center at a business school in Europe, the education of future managers is part of our core mission. We support the integration of human rights in business education. Identifying, analyzing and resolving human rights challenges in management decisions is key to future business success. Through research, teaching, and creating networks of business scholars, we advance our human rights agenda at business schools and prepare a first generation of business school graduates to manage human rights challenges in corporate practice.

Focus lead

This focus area is led by Prof. Dorothée Baumann-Pauly & Pascale Chavaz.