Human Rights & Business Initiative


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Business has an important role and responsibility to respect human rights around the world. From modern slavery to digital privacy, respect for human rights must be core to every business decision.

While many companies have established formal corporate responsibility and human rights programs, seldom do these programs have a seat at the table when critical business decisions are made—often with disastrous consequences for human rights. The Human Rights and Business Initiative (HRBI) was launched in 2015 to question the status quo and advance the concept of rights-aware, decision making in business.

Our mission is to equip current and future business leaders with the attitude and aptitude to advance business respect for human rights everywhere. Established as a joint initiative of Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center and the Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley-Haas, we leverage UC Berkeley’s world-class institutions to pursue a vision of a world where all companies respect human rights.

Our Work

To achieve our mission, we engage with students, faculty, and experts from business, academia, civil society, and government in the following mutually reinforcing activities:

  • TeachingWe offer dedicated courses on human rights and business and we also work to embed human rights in core business disciplines taught at the university through guest lectures, cases, and student projects. We also build connections across the UC Berkeley campus to integrate a business lens into traditional human rights courses taught at the university.

  • Research and InnovationWe develop research that applies academic rigor to create actionable insights and tools for practitioners working to advance business’ respect for human rights. We provide opportunities to spur innovation in the business and human rights field through competitions, hackathons, student projects, and other experiential learning opportunities.

  • CollaborationWe believe multi-stakeholder collaboration is essential to addressing the systemic challenges that are at the root of many human rights abuses involving business. We use our convening power to foster meaningful dialogue and collaboration through conferences, speaker series, webinars, and working groups.