July 30, 2020
Beyond Business-As-Usual: Lessons from Workers, Communities, and the Failed Experiment of Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives
For the past three decades, the corporate accountability and business and human rights communities have been in a process of experimentation, searching for interventions that protect people and the environment from corporate abuse. From treaties and due diligence, to naming-and-shaming and direct engagement, the efforts underway span far and wide.
MSI Integrity’s recent report examines one such experiment—international standard-setting multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs)—and provides a cautionary tale to guide present and future processes. MSIs emerged in the 1990s as an exciting proposition: civil society organizations would work alongside businesses to design novel systems of multi-stakeholder governance that aimed to protect rights holders from corporate abuse. Yet, after a decade of research and analysis, MSI Integrity has concluded that this experiment has failed in its goal of effectively protecting rights, and in its place, human rights initiatives and businesses with worker/community-centered governance and ownership models must become the norm to root out abuse.
This discussion will unpack the lessons from the failed MSI experiment and explore alternative business and human rights intervention models developed by rights holders and workers themselves. What makes them different and what considerations are prioritized? What are the impediments and obstacles for these initiatives, and how might they scale and grow? How can we promote more people-powered solutions to challenging corporate power?
On July 30, 10–11am ET, join the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School and MSI Integrity for a discussion with workers and their allies. The discussion will be live-illustrated by Sita Magnuson, Experience Designer & Educator at dpict. Krizna Gomez, Director of Programs and lead facilitator at JustLabs, will moderate the event.
Speakers will include:
– Joseph Cureton, Chief Coordinating Officer at Obran Cooperative
– Dr. Surya Deva, Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
– Amelia Evans, Executive Director, MSI Integrity
– Daniel Fireside, Capital Coordinator, Equal Exchange
– Tyler Giannini, Co-Director and Clinical Professor, International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School
– Gerardo Reyes Chavez, a key leader from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers