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Corporate Risk, Business & Human Rights. Growing Responsibilities in a Changing World (Part IV of a Four-part Series)

December 13, 2018 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Corporate Accountability: The Increasing Role of Civil Society, Activist Investors, Lawyers and Governments
Nina L. Gardner
Strategy International; Johns Hopkins University SAIS, US
Business and human rights is at the cornerstone of some of the most difficult challenges corporations, lawyers, investors, civil society representatives and legislators face today. This series of lectures/mini-course will provide an introduction to this emerging and rapidly evolving field, and to the developing international movement to encourage companies to take responsibility for their human rights impacts. The series starts with an overview of the governance gap regarding corporate behavior in the international regulatory framework, and covers the rapidly developing norms and regulations designed to improve business conduct. The following lectures will examine the developing responsibility of companies regarding labor issues in their supply chains, and the particularly difficult human rights challenges that affect the extractive sector. The series will close by considering the critical role of various stakeholders, particularly activist investors, in holding corporations more accountable. The object of this lecture series is to introduce students and faculty to this field, generate lively discussion regarding the role and responsibilities of corporations, and highlight the risk corporations take when human rights impacts are not adequately addressed.

Nina L. Gardner is the director of Strategy International, a consulting firm she founded in 2000 specializing in advising corporations on CSR partnerships, establishing internal global sustainability and human rights due diligence procedures, and working with investors on how to identify and manage the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks in their portfolios. Her past and present clients include multinational corporations such as Pfizer, Enel, Terna, investors like Fidelity Investments, and international organizations such as the OECD, and the UN Global Compact. She is on the board of Farm from a Box, an AG-tech social enterprise.

A lawyer by training (which included a semester working on the Bhopal case with an Indian public interest firm), she practiced corporate law in Washington DC. In 1996 she joined the UN as a political officer in their Zagreb liaison office, reporting on human rights violations in postwar Croatia. She also worked as an advisor to the OECD project "Measuring the Progress of Society" offering alternatives to GDP as a measure of development and government performance. Her varied professional experiences convinced her that the best way to effectuate change is to encourage the public, private sector and civil society to work together – and that business can turn human rights and environmental challenges into growth opportunities.

Ms. Gardner is an activist in women's issues – and is the founding president of three professional women's associations in Europe (Prague, Paris, Rome). She is on the advisory board of the Women's Forum for the Economy in Society and the Harvard Coalition for Responsible Investment. She is a graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe, Columbia Law School and was a Rotary scholar at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotà, Colombia. Ms. Gardner is fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, and is a member of the New York Bar and the Council on Foreign Relations. She taught Business & Human Rights from 2019-2012 at Washington College of Law at American University, and has been teaching at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington DC since 2013.
Gardner Mini-course Fall 2018 POSTER.pdf
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Event Type: BC Event