It is not difficult to foresee how businesses, particularly those relying on government aid to survive, navigate through the crisis and what decisions they make will shall the society in the years to come.
Many businesses endeavour to cope with the challenges caused by COVID-19 by providing assistance in medical supplies, engaging in initiatives for employees’ well-being and supporting the communities affected by the crisis.
Based on the holistic, human-centred approach to recovery, this tool offers the benefits of considering and managing human rights impacts of their operations. This paves the way to strengthening the trust built with consumers, producers, employees, stakeholders and the society at large in the post-crisis times as well.
All businesses are recommended to undertake, in their operations and supply chains, a comprehensive assessment of human rights impact as a solution to the short-term and practical impact of COVID-19 on human rights, as well as long-term consequences. To that end, UNDP developed a simple and accessible “Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: Rapid Self-Assessment for Business Tool” to help businesses consider and manage the human rights impacts of their operations. With contributions of the ILO Office for Turkey, UNDP Turkey, Global Compact Network Turkey and Business for Goals (B4G) Platform, the tool was translated into Turkish and adapted to the Turkish context.
Through the “COVID-19 Rapid Self-Assessment” tool, businesses are offered effective action and ideas, and a perspective on human rights in the context of COVID-19.
The tool was launched at an online meeting on 28 October, with opening remarks delivered by Mr. Numan Özcan, the Director of the ILO Office for Turkey, and Mr. Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative.
“Respecting international standards and human rights is critical for a human-centred recovery from the crisis”
We, first as human beings and then workers, expect respect for our fundamental rights. The COVID-19 pandemic has now become a crisis that deeply impacts the world of work and human rights, beyond health and continuity of social conditions at global level."Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey
Highlighting that human rights and labour rights have become more important for business operations and management particularly in the COVID-19 times, Mr. Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative, said: “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development makes the private a key stakeholder to the United Nations and governments in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Following the opening remarks, the Leaders’ Session on “Business and Human Rights in Pandemic” was held with the moderation by Ms. Melda Çele, Secretary-General of Global Compact Turkey. The speakers included Mr. Ozan Diren, a member of the Executive Board of Business for Goals Platform and CEO of Dimes; Ms. Aysun Sayın, Chief People, Culture and Sustainability Officer at WPP Turkey and Group M Turkey, representing the Diversity and Inclusion Work Group of the Global Compact Turkey and Ms. Ebru Şenel Erim, Board Member and Director of Sustainability and Corporate Communications at Unilever Turkey. The panel discussed human rights and business practices, considerations in times of crisis, and how the “COVID-19 Rapid Self-Assessment Tool” might help businesses.
“Stakeholders have to come together to achieve inclusive growth and decent work”The panel entitled “Why and How? Rapid Self-Assessment of Human Rights in COVID-19 Times for Businesses” was moderated by Ms. Tuba Burcu Şenel, Employment and Entrepreneurship Officer at the ILO Office for Turkey and Ms. Zeliha Aydın, UNDP Expert on Law and Human Rights. Mr. Sean Lees, Business and Human Rights Expert at UNDP Bangkok Regional Office, and Ms. Emily Sims, Senior Expert and Chief of Helpdesk for Businesses at ILO Geneva, shared their views.
Highlighting ILO’s international conventions as guiding businesses for responsible action in human rights, Ms. Sims emphasised the importance of social dialogue stating that “we have seen in the COVID-19 context that labour market inequalities deepened and social security systems failed in many countries. It is vital in Turkey, as in many other countries, that government, private sector, social partners and civil society come together to forge a social contract.”
Businesses may fill the questionnaire at this link to access the tool adapted by the ILO Office for Turkey, UNDP Turkey, Global Compact Network Turkey and Business for Goals Platform.