Since the early 1980s, a globalized economy has helped create millions of new jobs, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty. Yet at the same time there are frequent reports of chronic human rights violations associated with economic progress. In today’s instantly connected, social media dominated world, this has put considerable pressure on companies to improve their record.
To support companies in applying global human rights principles into business practice, the University of Geneva has set up the Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights (GCBHR). As the first center in Europe to focus on human rights within a business school, the GCBHR aims to offer companies a safe space to discuss pressing human rights challenges and to train future leaders to integrate human rights standards in their respective industry contexts.
“We want to show that it is not only the reputation of companies that is at stake, but that respect for human rights also offers opportunities”, explains Professor Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, Director of the Center. “For example, if a company cares about the working conditions of employees, they will stay longer in their jobs and develop more skills, which will have a positive impact on product quality.”
The GCBHR collaborates with the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights to promote human rights in business education through the Global Network of Business Schools for Human Rights.