White House Enlists Haas on Responsible Global Business

Promoting responsible business conduct by U.S. companies abroad will be the focus of a meeting to be co-hosted Feb. 6 by the Center for Responsible Business (CRB), the U.S. Network of the United Nations Global Compact, and White House officials.

CRB, through the event, is contributing to the U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on Responsible Business Conduct Abroad, created by President Obama last September. The event will be held Friday, Feb. 6, from noon to 6 p.m., at the Berkeley-Haas Innovation Lab (iLab).

The meeting is part of a series in which White House administration officials hear from academics, companies, labor unions, and non-governmental organizations interested in holding U.S. businesses and their partners accountable internationally — and promoting the protection and respect of the environment and human rights.

Planned concurrent breakout sessions will center on three themes: data privacy and freedom of expression in the information technology sector, responsible supply chains abroad, and responsible investment.

The half-day event is the second in a cross-country dialogue that began at New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights in December 2014.  Additional events are planned at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and in Washington D.C., co-hosted by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights.

Robert Strand, executive director of CRB, (pictured) is coordinating the event with CRB Associate Director Christina Meinberg. Haas Prof. Laura Tyson, director of the Institute for Business & Social Impact, will speak at the event.

“We are humbled to have been asked by the White House to convene this important event,” Strand said. “The CRB has a long legacy of encouraging critical dialogue about the topics associated with responsible business.”

Strand says lines are often blurred between activities that occur domestically and abroad within a company.

"The goal of these breakouts is to discuss what the U.S. government, U.S. companies, and civil society groups are already doing to promote responsible business practices; how the U.S. government can best encourage responsible business conduct going forward, and how to best coordinate these efforts from a multi-stakeholder perspective," Strand says.

“We are grateful to the Haas Center for Responsible Business and the U.S. Global Compact Network for hosting the upcoming interactive dialogue,” said Jason Pielemeier, special advisor and section lead in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the U.S. State Department.

“Given the diverse and dynamic community of stakeholders present in the San Francisco Bay area, we look forward to the Berkeley event providing an opportunity to discuss this and receive input on this initiative from interested stakeholders in the region.”

Please click here to RSVP; seats are limited.

Robert Strand