Why modern slavery cannot be solved without the financial sector
Over 40 million people are estimated to be victims of modern slavery or human trafficking, and the financial sector needs to play a role in eradicating it, says Fiona Reynolds, CEO of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. Speaking at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva last month, Reynolds presented an action plan designed by a commission she chaired.
Swiss companies fall short in Corporate Human Rights Benchmark
Over half of major companies across four key sectors are failing on human rights—particularly on due diligence—according to the latest Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB). Of the five Swiss companies ranked, none scored above 60 percent. Speaking at the UN Forum on Business & Human Rights, Margaret Wachenfeld, CHRB board director, explains where firms are falling short.
Crunch time for UN talks on killer robots as business demands clarity
Talks over a treaty to ban lethal autonomous weapons—so-called killer robots—have come to a head at the UN in Geneva after campaigners, backed by 30 nations, businesses, scientists, and NGOs, called on states to turn up the heat on the “glacial” pace of negotiations. With another two years of talks planned and no laws to stop them, there are concerns that the arms industry and certain countries will continue to ramp up development of these weapons.
Geneva launches first Center for Business and Human Rights in Europe
The University of Geneva is launching the first center dedicated to human rights at a business school in Europe, in collaboration with NYU’s Stern School in the U.S. Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, the center’s director, discusses upcoming projects and why a proposal to hold Swiss-based multinationals accountable for human rights violations abroad won’t work without proper measures to ensure companies are putting rules into practice.
How much climate change is costing Switzerland
In just 15 days this past summer, Switzerland saw the equivalent of one year’s drinking water melt from its glaciers, something that hurt power production and impacted infrastructure.
Water supply on edge in Swiss Alps too, warns Mountain Summit
The impact of climate change on mountain ecosystems is putting the world’s water supplies—and the economies that rely on them—at risk, warns Carolina Adler, co-chair of the inaugural High Mountain Summit organized by the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva. This comes after the heat wave earlier this year caused Swiss glaciers to melt at record rates.
Millennials’ message on global trade: “please listen to us”
Millennials and Generation Z now account for two-thirds of the global workforce and need to be given a bigger say in the debate on the future of global trade. That was one of the resounding messages delivered by a dedicated panel of young entrepreneurs invited to speak at the 2019 WTO Public Forum in Geneva. Andrés Escobar, founder of U.S.-based IMPCT Coffee, and Chebet Lesan, founder of Kenya’s Bright Green Renewable Energy, say it’s as simple as “please listen to us.”
How much does the trade war cost?
Forecasts for global growth have been downgraded. The trade war, besides being unaffordable, is also preventing other challenges from being addressed, as American economist Jeffrey Sachs explains.
U.S., not China, poses biggest threat to global trade, new book asserts
China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 had huge ramifications for the global trading system and in shaping the events that have led to today’s U.S.-China trade war, explains author Paul Blustein in his new book, “Schism: China, America, and the Fracturing of the Global Trading System.” But Blustein, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, argues that the Trump administration actually poses a bigger threat to the system with its decision to “flagrantly violate” WTO rules.
What it takes to make sustainable finance mainstream
The finance sector needs to take the sustainability discussion from niche to mainstream if it wants to play its part in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, WWF Switzerland CEO Thomas Vellacott has urged. He was speaking at the 2019 Building Bridges Summit in Geneva, where 800 NGO officials, bankers, wealth managers, and regulators joined forces to discuss how to boost their efforts in sustainable finance.
“We shouldn’t need Greta to remind us of the problems”
The United Nations kicked off its General Assembly in New York last week with the day-long Climate Action Summit, attended by heads of state, business leaders, and youth activists. But one main criticism was a lack of new commitments, especially by the world’s biggest polluting countries, like the U.S. and China. Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, was on the ground and shares his key takeaways from the conference.