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The Initiative provides support for scholarly research on business and human rights by UConn faculty. Current projects include:

A Comparative Analysis of Stakeholder Dialogue Regimes

PI: Shareen Hertel

Stakeholder dialogues are integral to conflict negotiation in business settings worldwide. They are a central tool in the business and human rights field, legitimated and professionalized in the early 2000s during the mandate of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Business & Human Rights, John G. Ruggie. This project analyzes the scope of stakeholder dialogues taking place globally (drawing on the 6,000 company dataset of the New York and London-based Business & HR Resource Centre); explores the historical evolution of varying forms of public dialogue around business harm and benefits from the 1970s to present; develops a two-company in-depth case study of successful and failed stakeholder dialogues in a single industry and geographic region; and explores concrete mechanisms for enhancing the practice and content of stakeholder consultation with a view toward empowering the most vulnerable among workers and community members.

Assessing the Human Rights Impact of Sustainable Finance Instruments

PI: Stephen Park

The global capital markets—and, by extension, private issuers, investors, and other market participants—are expected to play a rapidly growing role in the fulfillment of economic and social rights. A key challenge for the incorporation of human rights is determining how to measure, assess, and report on the human rights performance of a given financial instrument. This project addresses this challenge in the context of social bonds and similar fixed-income debt instruments that are used to finance projects with a specific social benefit (such as education, employment, housing, or healthcare). The use of proceeds of social bonds, as well as the process by which they are created, sold, traded, marketed, and applied, can be defined by reference to specific human rights. This project examines the use of metrics and indicators, reporting standards, due diligence, and third-party assessment in the social bond market for the purpose of evaluating regulatory approaches.