The roles of business and government in relation to human rights are undergoing profound change. With government retreating in many policy areas, business is increasingly being called upon to address human rights challenges.

The conference will bring together local and global leaders from business, civil society, government and academia to explore innovations in business and policy, opportunities for business to play a greater role in improving human rights and practical solutions to rights challenges that industry is facing.

2019 CONFERENCE SPEAKER LIST

Key Dates

  • 13 March – Tickets for Julia Gillard lecture have SOLD OUT. 
  • 13 April   – Earlybird ticket sales close
  • 14 May    – Innovate Rights academic workshop, UNSW CBD Campus
  • 14 May    – Evening lecture by Julia GillardSydney Town Hall 
  • 15 May    – Conference Day 1 UNSW Sydney CBD Campus
  • 15 May    – Evening reception
  • 16 May    – Conference Day 2, UNSW Sydney CBD Campus

 

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May 14 Academic workshop program (PDF)

Start End Topic Theme Speakers
08:00 08:45 Innovate Rights Day 1 Conference Registration

08:50 09:00 Welcome to Country

09.00 09.15 Welcome and overview of conference

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:15 09:45 Keynote - Marcela Manubens

As the Global Vice-President for Social Impact at Unilever, Marcela is responsible for implementing social sustainability programs in the company’s vast supply chains. This keynote speech will canvass some of the significant challenges that companies face in regulating their supply chains and how Unilever is tackling these issues.

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:45 10:45 A Blueprint for Business Leadership on Human Rights

Increasingly, business is proving it can be a vehicle for the promotion and realisation of human rights. What are the opportunities and risks for business in engaging with human rights issues? Our panel explores cases where businesses are engaging with rights and doing it well.

  • Leadership on Human Rights
Moderator: Justine Nolan
10:45 11:15 MORNING TEA

11:15 12:00 Gender Equality: Insights for Change

Many organisations have placed an emphasis on advancing gender equality for some time through polices and practice, yet the number of women in leadership positions remains stubbornly low and pay equity is still elusive. Julia Gillard, in her role as Inaugural Chair of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership, Kings College London, will talk about the research work that still needs to be done to establish the most effective ways of improving gender equality and her insights for achieving lasting change.

  • Diversity & Human Rights
Moderator: Libby Lyons
12:00 13:00 Diversity: The Role of Business

The 2017 Same Sex Marriage Survey raised a broader debate about what role business should play in advocating for government reform to support diversity. What are their obligations to their shareholders, customers and the public at large in supporting change? If social diversity is considered so valuable, why don’t more businesses better reflect society? The panel considers what more can be done to achieve diverse workplaces.

  • Diversity & Human Rights
Moderator: Paul Zahra
13.00 14.00 LUNCH

14.00 15.15 The role of finance in preserving human rights

Finance and human rights are inextricably intertwined. Human rights need finance, and now, more than ever, finance needs human rights. What innovations can ensure this interaction is substantive and enduring?

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Dimity Kingsford Smith
14.00 15.15 Australia's Modern Slavery Acts: a new beginning?

In 2018, Australia joined the UK as one of the few countries in the world to make companies accountable for modern slavery in their supply chains with legislation. What are the important and innovative features of the Australian and NSW Modern Slavery Acts? What will the legislation mean for business operations? And what difference will the Acts make in enforcing human rights in Australia?

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
Moderator: Paul Redmond
15:15 15:45 AFTERNOON TEA

15:45 17:00 Environmental Justice: Community responses in the face of corporate power

Businesses in many industries contribute to environmental degradation and climate change in ways that directly impact local communities, yet accountability for this harm remains elusive. What recourse exists for communities that wish to challenge business practices? How can they better protect themselves? How can companies be held to account and ultimately, change their practices?

  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
Moderator: Fiona David
15:45 17:00 Thinking outside the box: Supply chains and new technologies

Is technology a game changer for improving respect for human rights in supply chains? What technological innovations are companies and NGOs using to make supply chains more transparent?

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Kylie Porter
17:00 CLOSE

08:00 - 08:45

Innovate Rights Day 1 Conference Registration

08:50 - 09:00

Welcome to Country

09.00 - 09.15

Welcome and overview of conference

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:15 - 09:45

Keynote - Marcela Manubens

As the Global Vice-President for Social Impact at Unilever, Marcela is responsible for implementing social sustainability programs in the company’s vast supply chains. This keynote speech will canvass some of the significant challenges that companies face in regulating their supply chains and how Unilever is tackling these issues.

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:45 - 10:45

A Blueprint for Business Leadership on Human Rights

Increasingly, business is proving it can be a vehicle for the promotion and realisation of human rights. What are the opportunities and risks for business in engaging with human rights issues? Our panel explores cases where businesses are engaging with rights and doing it well.

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
10:45 - 11:15

MORNING TEA

11:15 - 12:00

Gender Equality: Insights for Change

Many organisations have placed an emphasis on advancing gender equality for some time through polices and practice, yet the number of women in leadership positions remains stubbornly low and pay equity is still elusive. Julia Gillard, in her role as Inaugural Chair of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership, Kings College London, will talk about the research work that still needs to be done to establish the most effective ways of improving gender equality and her insights for achieving lasting change.

Theme:
  • Diversity & Human Rights
12:00 - 13:00

Diversity: The Role of Business

The 2017 Same Sex Marriage Survey raised a broader debate about what role business should play in advocating for government reform to support diversity. What are their obligations to their shareholders, customers and the public at large in supporting change? If social diversity is considered so valuable, why don’t more businesses better reflect society? The panel considers what more can be done to achieve diverse workplaces.

Theme:
  • Diversity & Human Rights
13.00 - 14.00

LUNCH

14.00 - 15.15

The role of finance in preserving human rights

Finance and human rights are inextricably intertwined. Human rights need finance, and now, more than ever, finance needs human rights. What innovations can ensure this interaction is substantive and enduring?

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
14.00 - 15.15

Australia's Modern Slavery Acts: a new beginning?

In 2018, Australia joined the UK as one of the few countries in the world to make companies accountable for modern slavery in their supply chains with legislation. What are the important and innovative features of the Australian and NSW Modern Slavery Acts? What will the legislation mean for business operations? And what difference will the Acts make in enforcing human rights in Australia?

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
15:15 - 15:45

AFTERNOON TEA

15:45 - 17:00

Environmental Justice: Community responses in the face of corporate power

Businesses in many industries contribute to environmental degradation and climate change in ways that directly impact local communities, yet accountability for this harm remains elusive. What recourse exists for communities that wish to challenge business practices? How can they better protect themselves? How can companies be held to account and ultimately, change their practices?

Theme:
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
15:45 - 17:00

Thinking outside the box: Supply chains and new technologies

Is technology a game changer for improving respect for human rights in supply chains? What technological innovations are companies and NGOs using to make supply chains more transparent?

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
17:00

CLOSE

Start End Topic Theme Speakers
08:30 09.00 INNOVATE RIGHTS DAY 2 CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

09:00 09:15 Welcome & Overview of Conference Day 2

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:15 10:15 Business Leadership on Indigenous Rights

UNSW Sydney Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, Professor Megan Davis, in conversation with Libby Ferrari, Manager Indigenous Affairs at BHP Australia and Professor Gabrielle Appleby, on the role of business in recognising Indigenous rights and supporting the Uluru statement.

  • Leadership on Human Rights
10:15 10.45 Keynote - Auret van Heerden

With more than 30 years experience in labour and human rights, Auret will examine global supply chain labour challenges facing brands sourcing in emerging markets, He will address the broader political and social content in these countries and the associated risk to global brands. Auret will focus on best practices relating to purchasing practices, factory safety issues, managing subcontracting relationships and other topical issues.

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
10:45 11:15 MORNING TEA

11.15 12.30 A human rights approach to managing survivors of domestic violence in the workplace

Business leaders are increasingly committed to developing innovative organisational responses for employees affected by domestic and family violence (DFV). The potential for workplaces to contribute to reducing the effects of DFV by providing responses supporting employees to remain in employment, maintain a level of financial security and contribute meaningfully to the organisation cannot be over-estimated. This panel will explore a range of organisational initiatives, consider what is working and what more can be done.

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Jan Breckenridge
11:15 12:30 Innovative strategies in business and human rights activism

Without activism, how would we make progress on human rights in the business sector? Innovations in activism including shareholder action, online petitions and social media campaigns are bringing new forms of accountability to government and business alike. Experts in various forms of human rights activism will discuss their strategies, successes and challenges.

  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Richard Boele
12:30 13:30 LUNCH

13:30 14:30 Technology and Human Rights

New technologies, including AI and the use of big data can be powerful tools for strengthening human rights. Increased access to social media tools, artificial intelligence and data collection have enabled activists to organise and spread their message more quickly and to broader audiences, and for business and governments to better target their resources. However, emerging technologies, including AI, and access to data, and data security raise critical legal, regulatory and ethical questions for business, government and activists, requiring innovative responses.

 

  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Madeleine Bridgett
13:30 14:30 What does a good modern slavery reporting and assurance program look like?

How should companies respond to the new modern slavery laws? This panel will highlight best practices in reporting and assurance including how to map, monitor and prioritise high risk areas throughout corporate supply chains.

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
Moderator: Sarah McGrath
14:30 15:30 Public interest litigation

Although public interest litigation (PIL) has been part of the Australian legal landscape for many years, it is only now starting to be used as a tool for pursuing business-related human rights claims. Leading experts engaged in PIL will discuss recent successful cases of business and human rights litigation, the existing barriers to this approach and opportunities for expanding PIL action.

  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Andrea Durbach
14:30 15:30 The who, what and why of engaging with external stakeholders

How should companies, NGOs, workers, worker representatives and government be working together to reduce human rights abuses? This panel will discuss how to engage with a diverse group of stakeholders to address a range of human rights issues including modern slavery. 

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
Moderator: Shelley Marshall
15.30 15.45 AFTERNOON TEA

15.45 16.30 The way forward

The relevance of human rights to business is now accepted, but how will it develop into the future?

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Auret van Veerden
16:30 16:45 Closing Remarks

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
16:45 Closing

08:30 - 09.00

INNOVATE RIGHTS DAY 2 CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

09:00 - 09:15

Welcome & Overview of Conference Day 2

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:15 - 10:15

Business Leadership on Indigenous Rights

UNSW Sydney Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, Professor Megan Davis, in conversation with Libby Ferrari, Manager Indigenous Affairs at BHP Australia and Professor Gabrielle Appleby, on the role of business in recognising Indigenous rights and supporting the Uluru statement.

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
10:15 - 10.45

Keynote - Auret van Heerden

With more than 30 years experience in labour and human rights, Auret will examine global supply chain labour challenges facing brands sourcing in emerging markets, He will address the broader political and social content in these countries and the associated risk to global brands. Auret will focus on best practices relating to purchasing practices, factory safety issues, managing subcontracting relationships and other topical issues.

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
10:45 - 11:15

MORNING TEA

11.15 - 12.30

A human rights approach to managing survivors of domestic violence in the workplace

Business leaders are increasingly committed to developing innovative organisational responses for employees affected by domestic and family violence (DFV). The potential for workplaces to contribute to reducing the effects of DFV by providing responses supporting employees to remain in employment, maintain a level of financial security and contribute meaningfully to the organisation cannot be over-estimated. This panel will explore a range of organisational initiatives, consider what is working and what more can be done.

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
11:15 - 12:30

Innovative strategies in business and human rights activism

Without activism, how would we make progress on human rights in the business sector? Innovations in activism including shareholder action, online petitions and social media campaigns are bringing new forms of accountability to government and business alike. Experts in various forms of human rights activism will discuss their strategies, successes and challenges.

Theme:
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
12:30 - 13:30

LUNCH

13:30 - 14:30

Technology and Human Rights

New technologies, including AI and the use of big data can be powerful tools for strengthening human rights. Increased access to social media tools, artificial intelligence and data collection have enabled activists to organise and spread their message more quickly and to broader audiences, and for business and governments to better target their resources. However, emerging technologies, including AI, and access to data, and data security raise critical legal, regulatory and ethical questions for business, government and activists, requiring innovative responses.

 

Theme:
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
13:30 - 14:30

What does a good modern slavery reporting and assurance program look like?

How should companies respond to the new modern slavery laws? This panel will highlight best practices in reporting and assurance including how to map, monitor and prioritise high risk areas throughout corporate supply chains.

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
14:30 - 15:30

Public interest litigation

Although public interest litigation (PIL) has been part of the Australian legal landscape for many years, it is only now starting to be used as a tool for pursuing business-related human rights claims. Leading experts engaged in PIL will discuss recent successful cases of business and human rights litigation, the existing barriers to this approach and opportunities for expanding PIL action.

Theme:
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
14:30 - 15:30

The who, what and why of engaging with external stakeholders

How should companies, NGOs, workers, worker representatives and government be working together to reduce human rights abuses? This panel will discuss how to engage with a diverse group of stakeholders to address a range of human rights issues including modern slavery. 

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
15.30 - 15.45

AFTERNOON TEA

15.45 - 16.30

The way forward

The relevance of human rights to business is now accepted, but how will it develop into the future?

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
16:30 - 16:45

Closing Remarks

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
16:45

Closing