Business and Human Rights Clinic

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Business and Human Rights Clinic!

Objective

The Business and Human Rights (BHR) Clinic presents an opportunity for students to gain practical experience on corporate engagement with human rights. The objective of the BHR Clinic is to explore implementation strategies for human rights in corporate practice. Tackling real business challenges in the human rights context enables business students to apply theoretical concepts to practice and gain applied skills. Students develop their analytical skills, formulate concrete action steps, and learn to communicate their results to partners. These skills will be most important once they are themselves in roles that require managing human rights challenges in corporate practice.

Students currently work together in a small team over five months and will develop concrete solutions for a real-life human rights challenge that has been submitted by a corporate partner. Students interact with company representatives and gain first-hand insights into their perspective on human rights.

Challenge 2021/22

This year marks the first implementation of the BHR Clinic. The challenge for the first cohort is presented by Holcim, a Swiss global player in the building materials industry, and involves co-developing scenario-based training material for employees. During the course of five months, students have the chance to engage with managers in different countries and at different levels, identify scenarios representative of salient human rights and security risks, and carry out a pilot test of the training strategy and material they have developed.

Application Process

Students who are enrolled in the Master in Responsible Management program were eligible to apply for the Clinic by submitting their CV and a short motivation letter. A small group of students has been selected to join this year’s cohort.

Dates and Course Credit

The BHR Clinic commenced on November 1, 2021 and will end on April 1, 2022. Students will present their final report on the Clinic’s work to the company at the end of March 2022. The Clinic is an Institutional Project and contributes 6 ECTS for the master degree. All work is conducted in English.

BHR Clinic Workshop - 7 March 2022

People participating in the BHR Clinic workshop

The first week of March marked a highlight for the BHR Clinic, when we conducted a one-day workshop to discuss the human rights training outlines that the students developed over the last months. We spent a very focused and constructive day with 17 participants at the University of Geneva, together with the team of seven students and the project leads from the GCBHR, four team members from Holcim (the corporate partner for this Clinic), and three guests, from ICoCA (an association specializing on standards in the private security industry) and from the GCBHR’s Advisory Council.

We are proud of the students’ work that has come a long way, from getting acquainted with the field of BHR in the security context, over drafting relevant case scenarios, to developing four full training outlines that will find application in practice. In the next steps, the students will iterate the training outlines and have been invited to co-facilitate a training of Holcim’s staff in the coming months.