Public Law

I attended an excellent event in Glasgow today – full details below – which looked forward to the 2014 Commonwealth Games and asked: what is the role of the business community and the public sector in protecting human rights?

During his speech David Grevemberg, the Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, confirmed that a policy statement setting out the organisers’ commitment to human rights was on the way. Another key message reinforced by the event was the crucial importance of an ethical supply chain.

Games’ contractors and stakeholders should pay close attention to these developments.

Glasgow 2014’s Policy statement will set the bar for business and public sector organisations associated with the Games. A failure to demonstrate the same awareness and commitment to human rights will risk reputational damage at a moment of maximum public exposure – not the type of “legacy” that the business community or public sector would be seeking from the Games.

Throughout the day I was struck by the parallels offered by the Scottish and UK government’s renewed focus on fighting corruption. When the Bribery Act came into force in 2011 it placed a responsibility on business to put in place procedures to prevent corruption in its supply chain, making businesses criminally liable if “associated persons” bribed on their behalf. Could a similar approach be adopted to embed human rights into the supply chain? It would certainly provide clarity to businesses and produce the level playing field that ethical businesses are asking for.

In the meantime, if all stakeholders connected with Glasgow 2014 took steps to ensure their own organisational policies and procedures demonstrated an awareness and commitment to human rights that would be a pragmatic and welcome starting point.

Event details here.

Paul Marshall