Ryerson Business and Human Rights Conference
High-profile corporate infringements of human rights –notably in the developing world-- have initiated discourses about how to better regulate transnational business activities. Through the collaborative efforts of a range of stakeholders, including governments, business leaders, and civil society, we have developed a series of important global standards, including the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. There remain outstanding questions, however, including what are the respective roles of government, business, local communities, and civil society in operationalizing these and related human rights norms.
Set against the backdrop of recent global and domestic legal initiatives, this conference explores how we can use national, transnational, and international law to prevent human rights abuses in areas of special significance to Canadian business, including: mining and resource extraction, Indigenous and environmental rights, labour and worker safety, anti-corruption and bribery, and international trade and development. Speakers include world-renowned scholars and representatives from:
- The Canadian Chapter of the UN Global Compact
- Parliament of Canada
- Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
- MiningWatch Canada
- The Justice and Corporate Accountability Project
- The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety
- Sears Canada
- Bennett Jones LLP
- Baker & McKenzie LLP
Mutual Respect and the Covenant Chain with Bruce Morito
The Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN) invites you to attend a presentation by Bruce Morito based on his book An Ethic of Mutual Respect: The Covenant Chain and Aboriginal-Crown Relations.
There was at one time a mutually recognized respectful relationship between the British Crown and Aboriginal nations, who occupied the territory west of the Mississippi. The book is my attempt to identify a model of mutually recognized respectful relations in order to inform present-day relations. An analysis of the moral elements in the relationship of the 16 & 1700s, a relationship known as the Silver Covenant Chain, discloses key ethical values that grounded expectations on both sides. These expectations, in turn, can be analysed and used to construct an ethical framework for understanding what constituted mutual recognition of respectful relations. This historically legitimated foundation for inter-culturally respectful dialogue, negotiation and legal relations can then serve as a standard against which contemporary negotiations and proceedings can be compared. Another important feature of the Covenant Chain is that, insofar as it was an inter-culturally developed system of relations, it should, in principle, be cognizant to both the Aboriginal (at least, Haudenosaunee and Algonquian) and the Western European traditions.
Blog: Book Profile: An Ethic of Mutual Respect – The Covenant Chain and Aboriginal-Crown Relations
The relationship between First Nations and the Crown is historically delicate, but Professor Bruce Morito believes that the lessons of history can also be used to inspire reconciliation, dialogue, and mutual respect between Aboriginal groups and Canadian governments at all levels. On November 13 Dr. Morito, who is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Athabasca University, will be giving a talk
at York University about his most recent book, An Ethic of Mutual Respect: The Covenant Chain and Aboriginal-Crown Relations, in which he examines the role of the Silver Covenant Chain in forging amicable ties between the British Crown and First Nations bands during the colonial period.
The Silver Covenant Chain was a framework of treaties and alliances established primarily between the Iroquois Confederacy and British colonies in North America during the late 1600s
wherein matters of trade, settlement, and conflict resolution were moderated under a rubric of friendship, peace, and mutual respect. Dr. Robert Venables, Senior Lecturer in the American Indian Program at Cornell University, states
that “the term ‘silver’ denoted a qualitative enhancement of the bonds of friendship and alliance from its beginnings as a fibre rope” while the word ‘covenant’ referred to a “formal agreement, convention, or promise of legal validity.” The ‘chain’ that was alluded to was the Iroquois Confederacy’s term to describe a treaty and was literally translated in Iroquoian languages as ‘arms linked together’.
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Blog: Enhancing Transparency in the Canadian Extractive Sector
In June 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of a new and comprehensive regime of mandatory reporting standards
for Canadian extractive companies, a development that was warmly received by corporate, academic, and civil society leaders across the country. On the micro-level, the legislation aims to enhance the transparency and accountability of monetary payments made by extractive companies to all levels of government at home and abroad. Meanwhile, the bigger picture reveals a concerted effort by the Government of Canada to ensure that the Canadian framework is consistent with existing international standards including those adopted by fellow G8 nations.
The shift toward mandatory reporting standards is not wholly unexpected in Canada, as the federal government moves to step in line with the policies of other industrialized nations. In September 2012 we published an article which discussed the campaign against corruption
in the Canadian extractive sector and how legislation south of the border – particularly the Dodd-Frank Act enacted by Congress in July 2010 – has influenced Canadian lawmakers to revisit commitment to transparency in the Canadian extractive industry. The inception of the Extractive Resource Revenue Transparency Working Group
(“Working Group”) in September 2012 is particularly demonstrative of the new urgency that Canadian civil society organizations and mining associations are attaching to transparency and accountability in the Canadian extractive sector.
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CBERN PhD Winter Research Meeting 2014
The PhD Winter Research Meeting will bring members of the PhD Cluster working in different disciplines together at York University, along with faculty and non-faculty discussants, to develop works-in-progress. CBERN aims to promote knowledge-sharing and partnerships within the field of business ethics and across private, governmental, voluntary and academic sectors. An important aim of CBERN is to support the next generation of researchers and practitioner-scholars from across Canada. This annual meeting features professional development workshops, networking, and opportunities for research development post event. Accommodations will be provided at the Executive Learning Centre Hotel at the Schulich School of Business, York University.
Transparency International Canada elects new Chair and President
Following the Sixteenth Annual General Meeting of Transparency International Canada (TI-Canada), on September 18, Mr. Peter Dent
was elected Chair and President by the TI-Canada Board. Mr. Dent is a Partner, the Canadian Leader and the Global Financial Crime Initiative Leader of Deloitte Forensic. He has over 19 years of experience practicing in the areas of investigating and providing expert testimony regarding allegations of fraud and corruption with a focus in the global arena, in addition to providing anti-fraud and anti-corruption strategies in the public and private sectors.
McGill Executive Program in CSR Strategy and Management
Who Should Attend?
The program is designed for CSR Professionals, Private Sector, NGOs, Government, Civil Society, Multi-Lateral Organizations and International Organizations.
We are facing unprecedented economic, social and environmental change. With this comes new challenges for businesses, governments, NGOs, international institutions and other organizations. The McGill/ISID Executive Program in CSR Strategy and Management can help you meet these challenges, turning them into opportunities and creating value for all stakeholders.
More Information Here
Blog: Organizational Profile: Transparency International Canada
For many years Canada has been a respected industrial nation committed to the rule of law and to the creation of an international community guided by civility, fairness, and responsibility in matters of governance, both domestic and foreign. Nevertheless, Canada has fallen far behind
in ensuring the harmony and stability of the international order through its failure to step up in the fight against corruption at home and abroad. For this reason, in 1996, a group of concerned Canadian academics and business professionals founded
chapter of Transparency International
, a consortium designed to educate the country about the dangers of corruption and to provide solutions for what can be done to combat it effectively.
New Collaborative Partnership: NSI and ISS
The North-South Institute (NSI) is pleased to announce a new collaborative partnership with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
The ISS is an African organization that enhances human security on the continent. It does independent and authoritative research, provides expert policy analysis and advice, and delivers practical training to Africa's key actors and decision makers in order to prevent conflict, advance good governance and democratization, and improve the quality of life for Africa's people.
The NSI's mission is to conduct research that will assist policy-makers in developing and implementing more effective aid and development policies that will reduce poverty and global inequalities, and thereby contribute to a more prosperous and stable global community.
To create true and lasting change when it comes to sustainable development, NSI and ISS plan, over the next three years, to occasionally collaborate on important issues related to international development such as governance of natural resources in Africa, gender, state fragility and security sector reform. They also intend to jointly approach and develop innovative solutions for sound, effective research that will allow both institutions to effectively influence policy debates domestically and internationally.
This partnership is based on the idea that exchange of knowledge, resources and best practices will lead to new perspectives, innovative ways of working and greater capacity. You may see NSI and ISS partnering on a conference, or coordinating a research project together. You may even see them brainstorming in one of ISS' offices in Pretoria, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Nairobi, or in NSI's offices in Ottawa. This new Memorandum of Understanding between NSI and ISS signals a spirit of collaboration, engagement and collective action when it comes to championing peace, security, prosperity and equality for all.
Upcoming Publication: The Governance Gap: Extractive Industries, Human Rights, and the Home State Advantage
This book explores the persistence of the governance gap with respect to the human rights-impacting conduct of transnational extractive corporations operating in zones of weak governance.
The authors launch their account with a fascinating case study of Talisman Energy’s experience in Sudan, informed by their own experience as members of the 1999 Canadian Assessment Mission to Sudan (Harker Mission). Drawing on new governance, reflexive law and responsive law theories, the authors assess legal and other non-binding governance mechanisms that have emerged since that time, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They conclude that such mechanisms are incapable of systematically preventing human rights violating behaviour by transnational corporations, or of assuring accountability of these actors or recompense for victims of such violations. The authors contend that home state regulation, while not a silver bullet, has a crucial role to play in regulating such conduct. They pick up where UN Special Representative John Ruggie’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights left off, and propose an innovative, robust and adaptable template for strengthening the regulatory framework of home states. Their model draws insights from the theoretical literature, leverages existing public, private, transnational, national, ‘soft’ and hard regulatory tools, and harnesses the specific strengths of state-based governance.
Blog: 2013 World Mining Congress: The Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industry Development
For decades, Canada has been a pinnacle of the global mining industry due to its vast deposits of important minerals and natural resources across this expansive nation. With the development of advanced technologies and equipment for extractive resource industries that have minimized the negative social, economic, and environmental impacts of mining, Canada has also become a standard-bearer of sustainable and socially-responsible mining and a role model to other important centres of resource extraction around the globe. In keeping with Canada’s position as a leader of corporate social responsibility in the mining sector, the federal government in 2011 announced the creation of the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industry Development
(CIIEID) as a key component of Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy.
Blog: 2013 World Mining Congress: Indigenous Peoples and Mining
Much has been written about the often-tense relationships between mining companies and Indigenous peoples, which have for decades been marked by conflict in resource-rich regions around the world. Fortunately, the advent of corporate social responsibility (CSR) along with a newfound interest in ethical business among investors, executives, and the public have pressured many major resource extraction firms into reassessing their relationships with Indigenous communities, with a view to creating transformative partnerships based on accountability, respect, and certitude. The 2013 World Mining Congress
(WMC), which will be held in Montréal, Canada from August 11-15, will offer an important window into the relationships between mining companies and Aboriginal communities in Canada and abroad.
Blog: 2013 World Mining Congress: Technical Program Overview
The technical program for the 2013 World Mining Congress
is packed with papers, plenaries, and discussions by the top experts, scholars, and professionals in the global mining sector. Due to the number of sessions that CBERN will be participating in during the course of the Congress, we have prepared an overview of each technical stream to provide our readers with information about the people who will be present and the issues that will be discussed at the 2013 WMC ahead of the actual event.
Blog: Event Snapshot: 2013 World Mining Congress
With the month of August quickly approaching, mining industry participants across Canada and around the world are busy preparing for the 2013 World Mining Congress
(WMC). This international summit attracts thousands of professionals, academics, and civil servants working in the resource extraction industry every year. The 2013 WMC will be held from August 11-15 in Montréal, in conjunction with the 30th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction and Mining
and a mining trade show at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.
Blog: 2013 World Mining Congress: Women in Mining
With the 2013 World Mining Congress set to take place next week, organizers and participants are gearing up for an event which will bring together industry insiders and experts to discuss important advances in mining engineering – hence the appropriate motto for this year’s Congress – Mapping the Future. Although the fourteen tracks of the technical program showcased at this year’s convention will include presentations on topics that are bound to appeal to scientists, engineers, corporate executives and academics alike, a new and important addition to the usual program includes a technical track on women in mining. As a part of the technical program for the 2013 World Mining Congress, the Women in Mining session will follow the same format as other streams on the schedule, and will feature presentations, case studies, and discussions focusing on three key areas – creating inclusive workplaces, women on executive boards, and breaking the barriers of working remotely.
Doing Business in Fragile States: The Private Sector, Natural Resources and Conflict in Africa
The following background paper, written by Hany Besada (NSI)
discusses doing business in fragile states. It was submitted to the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and served as one of the many background papers that helped inform the High Level Panel’s final report.
Read it here
NSI Ottawa Forum Results
On May 9th and 10th 2013, The North-South Institute held an international forum on Governing Natural Resources for Africa’s Development bringing together senior Canadian and African policymakers and government officials, extractive industry executives, global and African civil society groups, multilateral institutions, donor agencies, diplomats, think-tanks and academics.
All related information can be found here
CBERN to Organize “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability Stream” at World Mining Congress 2013
The “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability" program stream is being organized and administered by CBERN, as part of the World Mining Congress
. The purpose of the “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability Stream” of the World Mining Congress is to assess the character and the boundaries of the emerging economic, social and environmental responsibilities of mining in the 21st century required to obtain a social license to operate.
The “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability" program stream will be the core conference event for CBERN’s 6th Annual Conference
, to be held in Montreal in August, 2013.
A call for papers and case studies will be issued by late spring 2012. The call for papers will seek contributions for the “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability" program stream that will explore the ethical responsibilities of mining and the capacity of mining to contribute to sustainable development.
CSR Guide for Multinational Corporations in China
On the heels of the Harmony Foundation's very well-received report "Strengthening Canada’s Foreign Policy-Lessons Learned from our China Experience" they are pleased to share a link to their new publication: "CSR Guide for Multinational Corporations in China - Prosperity with Integrity." While using China as an exemplar the guide addresses the role of business in society around the world and provides a practical blueprint for achieving prosperity while respecting human rights and the environment and our responsibilities to future generations.
Blog: Profile: The North-South Institute
With its 40th anniversary quickly approaching, the North-South Institute
(NSI) will soon be reflecting on the past four decades of its contributions that have made it one of Canada’s most important policy research institutions in the field of international development. Founded in 1976, the NSI has been ranked twice in previous years as the world’s number one think-tank
with a budget of less than $5 million by the Global Go To Think Tank Index, underscoring the quality of the research produced by this institution. Located in Ottawa, the organization’s main sources of funding – the Canadian International Development Agency and the International Development Research Centre.
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Launch of the Updated "Exploration and Mining Guide for Aboriginal Communities"
Natural Resources Canada has just re-launched an updated version of its mining Guide for Aboriginal Communities. This product was developed in partnership between Natural Resources Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, the Mining Association of Canada and the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association. This project was guided by a multi-stakeholder Advisory committee composed of representatives from the industry, Aboriginal organizations, academia and civil society. Natural Resources Canada was pleased to have CBERN (Wes Cragg) as a member of this Committee.
Hevina Keynote & Panel
March 22, 2013
York University, Room 519, York Research Tower
Please save the date
for a Keynote presentation by Hevina Dashwood
on her book “The Rise of Global Corporate Social Responsibility: Mining and the Spread of Global Norms
” (2012, Cambridge UP).
Combining insights from international relations theory with institutional approaches from organization theory and public policy, this presentation will address Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) adoption in the global mining sector, highlighting CSR adoption on the part of individual mining companies, and global collaboration to promote global standards for the mining industry. The author will discuss attributes internal to the firm, including the critical role of leadership, and the way in which management responds to the institutional context and operational challenges faced in different countries and how this influences CSR adoption.
The keynote will be webcast on the CBERN website at http://www.cbern.ca/webcast
APPE Annual Meeting: Lunch with an Author featuring Wesley Cragg
APPE is proud of their authors and of the contributions they make in advancing the field of practical and professional ethics. The Annual Meeting provides many opportunities for authors to showcase their work, get helpful and meaningful feedback, and to help others advance as colleagues and prospective authors.
The APPE is fortunate to have eleven books showcased on Lunch with an Author at the 2013 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. This year's "Lunch with an Author" features CBERN Principal Investigator Wesley Cragg
. Wesley will discuss his recently published edited collection "Business and Human Rights"
Wesley Cragg (Author, Editor), "Business and Human Rights"
The human rights issues have long played an important role in the strategies of, and the roles played by, corporations around the world. This book focuses on these issues from both theoretical and practical perspectives. The authors examine the nature of and the limits of human rights responsibilities of business. They explore whether the protection of human rights should play a role in the regulation of international trade by bodies like the World Trade Organization and examine the effectiveness of voluntary standards in the clothing textiles trade, mining, advertising and the pharmaceutical industry. Long thought to be the exclusive jurisdiction of governments, the relationship between business and human rights has emerged in the last two decades as one of the most pressing issues in the field of business ethics. Do corporations have human rights responsibilities? If so, what is that nature of those responsibilities and do they differ in any significant way from those of governments? Is it reasonable or realistic to expect corporations to respect human rights in environments where governments, particularly in the developing and underdeveloped world, need economic development and have a limited capacity and/or interest in enforcing human rights standards and laws? Integrating theory and practice, the authors include discussion of the debates leading to the creation of the ISO 26000 standard and the United Nations human rights framework for business entities. They also explore the implications of the current debate for international trade agreements and trade with China. Scholars and students in management, philosophy, political science, and sociology will find this volume a great resource, as will activists, managers and policy makers.
Contributors include: J. Bishop, T. Campbell, C. Coumans, W. Cragg, B. Hamm, A. Macleod, P. Potter, C. Sampford, A. Wellington, F. Wettstein, S. Wood
Human Rights and the Global CSR Agenda Event
Since the 1990s both governmental and non-governmental actors have sought to shape and disseminate general norms for corporate social responsibility, which have been translated into a growing number of relatively prominent voluntary initiatives such as the UN's Global Compact. While the growth of these international CSR initiatives and norms over the past two decades has been impressive, it also has been uneven in terms of firm participation and the areas of corporate social responsibility addressed. The literature on business and politics has examined the determinants of firm participation, but we know far less about why certain types of CSR initiatives have developed faster and been more successful than others. This panel seeks to gain insight into this latter question by examining and situating corporate human rights codes and norms within the broader CSR context and agenda. Some papers, for example, could explore why environmental and sustainability codes to date have been able to gain greater prominence and adherents than their human rights counterparts. Similarly such papers might explore the extent to which human rights codes have been influenced by their environmental forbearers and with what effect. Other papers might examine why certain areas within the human rights rubric such as child labour have become the subject of high profile campaigns while other issues such as fair remuneration have failed to gain a foothold on the global CSR agenda. The panel therefore seeks to shed light on which types of, and under what conditions, human rights norms and voluntary initiatives are likely to be successful as well as identifying those human rights concerns that are less amenable to CSR approaches.
Blog: Engaging Stakeholders – a Key to Developing Canadian CSR Policy
The road to establishing an inclusive structure for the development of corporate social responsibility (CSR) benchmarks in Canada has been fraught with concerns about the breadth of stakeholder involvement since the very earliest days of government interest in CSR practices and policies. The desire to produce a CSR framework with the input of all sectors of Canadian civil society has been a journey that is often beset by questions of a practical nature which often boil down to concerns about how equal representation can be assured for all stakeholders who are affected by corporate projects at home and abroad.
Dr. Susan Dieleman
, a tenure-track assistant professor in the Philosophy Department at Dalhousie University prepared a preliminary report on the issue of multi-stakeholder negotiations as a follow-up to the federal government-sponsored National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility which were held between 2006 and 2007 in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary. In her report, Dieleman does not attempt to answer the question of whether these Roundtables – which she refers to as the “stakeholder advisory council” – were successful in their own right; rather, she is “interested to know what questions need to be answered to determine whether the Roundtables were a good example of the use of stakeholder theory.”
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Blog: Canada and International Development – a Narrative Fraught with Controversy
The Canadian International Development Agency
– perhaps better known by its acronym of CIDA – is the Canadian government’s most important and well-funded organization for international development projects around the world. Despite the good intentions that CIDA was established upon, and according to which its staff operate, the relationships recently cultivated by the agency with some major Canadian mining corporations in contentious overseas hot-spots has become a cause for concern among a growing number of socially responsible investors, analysts, and fund managers.
As its raison d’être
, CIDA states that it aims to “manage Canada’s support and resources effectively and accountably to achieve meaningful, sustainable results” and “to engage in policy development in Canada and internationally, enabling Canada’s effort to realize its development objectives.” In a new policy shift
under the Harper government, CIDA was directed by Ottawa to establish new partnerships between Canadian mining companies and NGOs in developing countries in order to use foreign aid projects overseas to boost economic growth across Canada.
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Blog: Building the Canadian Advantage – Ottawa’s Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility
As a major player in the global mining sector, with Canadian mining companies accounting for some “43 percent of global exploration expenditures” and with “over 75 percent of the world’s exploration and mining companies…headquartered in Canada”, the country undoubtedly holds a unique position in establishing corporate social responsibility
benchmarks on not only the national level, but also on the world stage by extension.
Due to Canada’s prominence and important leadership role in the resource extractive sector, in March 2009, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) released a report entitled “Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector” (to be referred to as the “BCA Report” herein). It is in this report that the federal government outlined a four-tier policy approach to ensuring that Canadian companies become the most competitive players in the international market based on “their ability to manage social and environmental risks”.
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Blog: Book Launch: The Rise of Global Corporate Social Responsibility
The ascent of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible investing (SRI) practices over the past twenty years has marked a profound change in policy and practice for corporate bosses, financial chiefs, and government bureaucrats alike. Whereas prior to the 1990s the concepts of CSR and SRI were still widely unknown outside of a small circle of ethics pioneers, in the past two decades we have seen the progressive emergence and adoption of these concepts by many in the corporate world. Moreover, the move towards codifying CSR and SRI practices as benchmarks of corporate conduct has been indubitably encouraged by an ‘awakening’ amongst concerned investors who, more than ever, are demanding increased attention to the way that companies deal with issues in the areas of environmental, social, and corporate governance.
In her recently published book The Rise of Global Social Responsibility: Mining and the Spread of Global Norms
, Professor Hevina Dashwood
of Brock University provides a thorough and well-documented analysis of the adoption of corporate social responsibility practices throughout the mining and mineral exploration sectors. With the author’s research of CSR practice and policy firmly steeped in theories drawn from her own discipline, international relations, and combined with institutional approaches from organizational theory and public policy, Dr. Dashwood aptly charts a course that clearly illustrates the role which global norms have played in the adoption of CSR practices by mining conglomerates.
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A Must Have Book: The Rise of Global Corporate Social Responsibility: Mining and the Spread of Global Norms
Combining insights from international relations theory with institutional approaches from organization theory and public policy, "The Rise of Global Corporate Social Responsibility: Mining and the Spread of Global Norms" provides a complete explanation for the adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR), showing how global norms influenced CSR adoption in the mining industry.
Global normative developments have had an important influence on major mining companies. However, there is significant variation between firms. The author finds that attributes internal to the firm, including the critical role of leadership, and the way in which management responds to the institutional context and operational challenges faced in different countries are important influences on CSR adoption and important factors explaining variation.
Blog: Understanding the Principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) has become a hot topic over the last few years where aboriginal communities are concerned. The cause of FPIC advocacy is grounded in the conception of the inherent rights of human communities to self-determination and their right to “freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development” as codified by the United Nations Charter
in Chapter 1, Article 1 of that universally accepted document.
At first glance, the term ‘Free, Prior, and Informed Consent’ may not necessarily invoke thoughts of human rights and international law, but that is exactly what the concept of FPIC deals with
. In a nutshell, FPIC is “the principle that a community has the right to give or withhold consent to proposed projects that may affect the lands they customarily own, occupy, or otherwise use. FPIC…is now a key principle in international law and jurisprudence related to indigenous peoples.”
Blog: Canadian Mining in Guatemala an Antithesis to Human Rights
On Wednesday, October 31st I was very fortunate to be a part of the audience who gathered at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School to hear Professor Shin Imai
talk about the controversies surrounding Canadian mining companies and their relationships with native communities in Latin America. As the co-director of the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources, and Governments, and as the director of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project at Osgoode Hall Law School, Professor Imai brings decades of experience in human rights, refugee law, and indigenous rights to the table.
From the outset of his lecture, Mr. Imai makes it crystal clear that one of the key factors to consider in resource extractive projects wrought by Canadian companies in developing regions is the existence of a stinging corporate social responsibility and accountability gap where these companies are concerned – “nobody knows what’s going on,” he states matter-of-factly. While Canadian mining companies are releasing reports which are meant to trumpet their CSR instruments and human rights policies, such as HudBay Minerals did in its 2011 CSR Report
, the fact is that the reality on the ground at these overseas mines is very different, argues the Professor.
Blog: Combating Corruption in the Mining Sector
Transparency International (TI)
is perhaps the most recognized name in the fight against corruption anywhere in the world; the work that the organization does to curb all forms of illicit activities within the resource extractives sector constitutes an intensive program in and of itself. With more than 100 chapters in dozens of countries around the globe, Transparency International identifies and exposes corruption
ranging from small-time crooks dealing in petty bribes to government officials involved in major fraud.
In light of the importance of combating corruption in the resource extractive sector, on October 31st, Transparency International Canada hosted a seminar in Vancouver, British Columbia in conjunction with Davis LLP on efforts to stem the tide of corruption in the Canadian mining sector.
TI-Canada and Davis LLP Present: "Combating Corruption in the Mining Sector: Law Enforcement, Risk and Compliance"
TI-Canada and Davis LLP are pleased to present a half-day seminar, "Combating Corruption in the Mining Sector: Law Enforcement, Risk and Compliance," in Vancouver, Wednesday, 31 October, 8:30 - 12:00.
Please join TI-Canada for an informative session on combating corruption in the Mining Sector. Hear industry experts discuss anti-corruption laws, their enforcement, and how to mitigate risk through changes in corporate culture.
Those involved with the mining sector - business, government and NGOs, are invited to register early to attend this no-cost event, as seating is limited.
Capacity-Building Workshop: Bringing Resource Revenue Transparency to Canada's Extractive Sector
This workshop will take place on November 5, 2012. The workshop will examine recent international and domestic developments that aim to improve resource revenue transparency. In particular, the workshop will discuss the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between PWYP-Canada and the Mining Association of Canada, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and the Revenue Watch Institute. In addition to examining international and global efforts to improve transparency, the workshop will examine the gaps between existing Canadian disclosure regulation and emerging international standards. Moreover, the workshop aims to highlight how payments disclosure, alongside other company-based disclosure, can be used by civil society organizations in their advocacy and research.
Blog: Canada, Mining, and Transparency - What You Need to Know
The campaign against corruption in the extractive resources market was back on the table again this past September, after a long and stifling summer which saw extended political debates in Ottawa over the role and responsibilities of Canadian mining companies in the developing world, where these firms are heavily engaged in resource extraction projects. Powerful Canadian mining associations have taken the reins on the creation of anti-corruption rules that insiders say will reflect and enforce controls meant to stem the flow of cash from mining conglomerates to corrupt overseas officials and governments.
With the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), Publish What You Pay Canada, and the Revenue Watch Institute all on board to tackle the problem of widespread corruption in the extractives sector, Canada has earned the praise of international corruption watchdogs for recognizing and combatting a critical and long-time issue which has poisoned relations between Western corporations and local communities in developing countries.
"Corporate Governance Beyond Borders" With Philip Armstrong and Peter Dey
Event Date: October 3, 2012
Time: 12:30-2:30 PM
Location: ADR room 1014, Ignat Kaneff Building
Come to learn more about corporate governance, the challenges facing emerging markets, and the work of the Global Corporate Governance Forum (a multi-donor trust fund co-founded by the World Bank Group and the OECD).
Blog: Social Impact Bonds - Investing Wisely
Bonds are an intriguing topic not only because of their role in regulating the economy and in assisting government projects, but also because they can be pooled as liquid capital in any project, no matter what its aims, scope, or duration. This is where socially responsible investors and business leaders have stepped in, introducing a new kind of bond that will allow other conscientious investors to purchase bonds which are particularly tailored to assisting with objectives aimed at social justice, ethical business practices, and sustainable development.
Fittingly known as “Social Impact Bonds” (SIBs), the acquisition of one of these financial instruments enters the investors into a “contract with a public sector commissioner in which it pays for improved social outcomes”. SIBs are typically used to pump money into socially responsible projects that connect government, private corporations, NGOs, and other interested parties, with a desired aim
being to secure a “high probability of success” in the project.
Blog: The Gender Lens as an Emerging Theme in Social Responsibility
Achieving success in the world of business and finance can be an arduous experience for women. The corporate world has traditionally been dominated by men, with the very bedrock of economic theory rooted in the philosophies and musings of male scholars spanning Adam Smith, George Mason, John Locke, and more recently Friedrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Paul Krugman, amongst others. Nevertheless, women have started to take top positions in the world of business, as evidenced by the fact that there are now 20 female CEOs at the helm of Fortune 500 companies in America
according to a report released in July.
Despite the fact that this number only represents a miniscule 4% of all CEOs on the US-based Forbes list, it is still a sign that woman’s place in the corporate world is slowly becoming entrenched. Furthermore, at the same time as we are witnessing an increase in corporate female management, the idea of gender-focused investing (aka “gender-lens investing) is also emerging as a new theme in social responsibility, and a possible connection to the ascent of women in management would be frankly unsurprising.
Blog: An Ethics Database for the 21st Century – Globethics.NET
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to interview Nicolae Irina
, CBERN’s E-Librarian and contributor to Globethics.net to get some insight about the Globethics.net
library – an expansive, state-of-the-art, and totally free resource on all-things-ethical. As a PhD student in York University’s Philosophy Department, Nicolae’s work is focused on the relation between corporate social responsibility and human rights, the ongoing discussion of the UN Draft Norms and the subsequent debate over the Reports of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
Anti-Corruption Research News: Issue 10
This issue contains an in depth look at some of the most interesting findings from the largest ever Europe-wide research project to assess the National Integrity Systems in 25 countries. As usual, it also contains updates on interesting new research, curriculum highlights, research projects, jobs and funding opportunities. The call for submissions for the 2012 Anti-Corruption Research Paper contest is now open. This year’s contest aims to solicit innovative ideas on curbing corruption around the themes of the upcoming International Anti-Corruption Conference taking place in Brazil on 7-10 November 2012.
Blog: Enbridge vs. the First Nations
Another day gone by, and another energy sector project is in limbo because of disputes between the corporate sector, the federal government, and Canadian First Nations. The particular conflict in question concerns the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline
(NGP) which has been developed (on paper, at least) by Enbridge and which would span some 1, 173 kilometers in length, extending from its place of origin outside of Edmonton and terminating near the town of Kitimat in northwestern British Columbia. Unless of course, some 100 First Nations bands have anything to say about the matter.
Now, as with all oil pipeline projects, the NGP has its fair share of adversaries within communities that would be affected by the construction route that Enbridge engineers have chosen to lay their conduit for the black gold emanating from Alberta’s equally controversial Athabasca oil sands. The plans for this development have been complicated by more than just outcry from environmental activists and their ilk. Dozens of First Nations bands with territory straddling the proposed NGP route have outright rejected any construction on their lands, setting the stage for another very public battle between Canadian First Nations peoples, the federal government, and the Canadian corporate sector.
Blog: Resource nationalism in Latin America
The progressive nationalization of natural resources in some peripheral nations of the developing world has nary been more pronounced in recent years than with legislation passed by the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These three nations are governed by leaders who have been heavily influenced by political ideologies which call for national governments to take control over their natural resources, as part of an effort to become self-sustaining economies free of foreign influence.
The decision by leaders in Latin America to progressively nationalize their natural resources – which also act as the main conduits for foreign investment – have naturally left Western investors and corporations in a bind. While political hostility in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador has historically been directed towards US policies and corporations in the region, Canada has recently found itself at the certain of a brewing battle emerging from the Bolivian brand of resource nationalism.
Blog: Battle for the North – Quebec’s future at stake with Plan Nord
With the spectre of provincial elections looming large on the horizon in Québec
and with September 4th promising to introduce a possible reconfiguration of the political pieces at the National Assembly of Québec (the provincial legislature), there are any number of topics on the political agenda that may sway voters towards one party or another. The Plan Nord
is one of these crucial electoral issues that may just see Premier Jean Charest’s Liberal Party fall from grace.
– which is a major litigation firm dealing closely with mining projects – reports that the Plan Nord, launched by Premier Charest in May 2011, “provides for the development of territory of Québec located north of the 49th parallel over the next 25 years.” According to this report, the project is an ambitious and wide-ranging foray into developing Québec’s rich natural resources potential in its expansive northern regions
, and is set to cover 72% of the province’s territory (roughly 1.2 million km²). Following the philosophy of responsible investing 101 which has taken a firm foothold in Québec’s economic capital, Montréal, in recent years, Plan Nord calls for “a development project that is integrated socially, economically, and environmentally that will be implemented over a long period of time.”
Blog: Conflict minerals and responsible investing
Conflict stones have, for worse, been a part of the legitimate trade in precious metals and minerals for many decades. With the issue of conflict stones like “blood diamonds” popularized by various Hollywood film-makers over the years (Edward Zwick’s rendition
comes to mind), Western audiences have become familiar with the controversies surrounding precious minerals, and perhaps are more concerned about the origins of their diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, gold, silver, and other high-end valuables than at any previous time. Despite the fact that the plight of communities producing conflict stones is a rather public matter, repeated attempts by international organizations to control or ban the sale of minerals originating from war zones have been largely unsuccessful in the past decade.
Blog: Rio+20 leading to greener pastures?
Set almost twenty years to the day that the famous 1992 Earth Summit was held in the same Brazilian metropolis, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 brought together captains of industry, corporate titans, national leaders, and policy experts from around the world with the aim of establishing a concrete plan to encourage sustainability amongst nations.
Now as with any international conference that aspires to find a common denominator between the world’s diverse nations on a hot-button topic such as sustainable development and corporate responsibility, many attendees agreed to disagree on what the drawing board should look like for a sustainable future. According to one of my colleagues who studies political science at Queen’s and recently wrote a recap on Rio+20, one of the major obstacles to achieving the stated objectives of the summit is the inherent gap that exists between core and peripheral nations on how to achieve sustainability evenly across the board.
Blog: Sustainability – a Burning Platform
Life in the corporate world is oftentimes a high-octane, fast-paced, no-nonsense kind of exercise which could best be compared to sky-diving in terms of the risks involved, except with arguably less chance that you’ll be equipped with a parachute to cushion your fall if and when an investment starts going South and winds up the way of the Dodo.
Admittedly, I am exaggerating a tiny bit, but perhaps we can all acknowledge that in the current financial climate there is never complete certainty about what constitutes a truly secure investment. Insane amounts of untenable and precarious risk-taking are at the root of the global financial crisis and have certainly motivated changes in corporate behaviour so let’s talk about risk-taking then, and why some corporations have begun to redesign their corporate strategies in an era of unyielding economic turmoil.
Blog: Research Series on Human Rights: Critical Examination of Ruggie’s Protect, Respect, and Remedy Framework in Business Ethics Quarterly
The BEQ special issue on human rights is an outcome of a CBERN-hosted Business and Human Rights Symposium, held over the final weekend of February 2010. 23 Canadian and international participants gathered together for a 4-day roundtable discussion that was generated from the topics of 18 participant papers drafted specifically for the event. Through this initiative we aim to continue the conversation about these ideas in a wider forum.
Blog: More Flashlights; Better Vision: A snapshot view of the CBERN PhD Winter Research Meeting 2012
Clearly I was being privileged to get a sneak peek into this behind the scenes world that CBERN, these PhD students, and the advisors are all a part of. Right now there is a ton of CSR and ethic based projects, papers, and ideas floating about. However no one seems to really have a grasp on what this means for the world at large. These are the people who are grabbing some of these ideas and showing how they are useful or what the true natures behind these concepts are. These are the champions of ethics who are working to make the place a little better and a little clearer on how to make the best of this interconnected, uncertain and complex place we all call home.
TI-Canada Presentation: "India: will it ever shake its legacy of corruption"
As part of Transparency International Canada's Fifteenth Annual General Meeting, Dr. Douglas Goold, Director, National Conversation on Asia & Senior Editor, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, made a presentation on "India: Will it ever shake its legacy of corruption?", before an engaged audience of fifty-three, in the offices of Bennett Jones LLP, in Toronto.
Dr. Douglas Goold outlines why contemporary India is important to us, then adresses the issues of corruption plaguing India.
Blog: World Bank Ombudsman imparts extractive sector dispute resolution tips to Canadian colleagues
Blog: Event Snapshot: The SIO Conference on Socially Responsible Investment
The conference was an important and informative one, providing a stage for major Canadian and international voices in sustainability to deliver their combined vision and individual appraisals of ethical business to the current and next generation of corporate leaders. One of the most crucial results of the conference for business ethics researchers was to identify the place of ‘impact investment’ in today’s corporate environment, and set the bar for social and environmental responsibility in the corporate sector. The SIO conference was a boon for this objective, as was the Rio + 20 UN Summit, on an international scale.
CBERN-NNK Knowledge Needs Research Update - May 2012
The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach (NNK), located in northern Quebec, is adjacent to two early-stage iron ore mining developments. CBERN has been working with the NNK since early 2007 on a variety of topics within the Socially Responsible Development in the Rapidly Evolving Canadian North cluster of research. One NNK-requested project has sought to increase access to electronic and other resources to support thoughtful dialogue and decision-making among NNK members about their mining futures. Consistent with this, in 2011 a CBERN/NNK team initiated community focus group discussions and interviews to identify specific knowledge needs around mine development. A clear ‘Top 20’ knowledge needs emerged from this surveying of the NNK, ranging from business development strategies to cultural preservation measures (see full report
In response to these identified knowledge needs, we have gathered 1500+ pieces of existing knowledge on mining and Aboriginal community well-being from both published scholarship and, where documented, professional practice. Drawing on this database, the next stage of the project will see us generate specific answers to the NNK's specific questions. The challenge in this is not only to develop accurate and balanced answers, but also to deliver these answers to the NNK in usable forms. To this end, plans are being developed to update CBERN’s E-Library resources and incorporate a NNK-friendly design. Perhaps more significantly, CBERN will be pursuing the development of topical workshops and local radios shows (in the Naskapi language) that address the top knowledge needs and enable NNK members to utilize the E-Library to examine related issues and resources.
Rights and Riches: NSI Examines Indigenous Perspectives on Natural Resource Governance
Resource scarcity is a growing issue that affects everyone. As companies explore and develop projects in ever more remote areas, they are increasingly encountering Indigenous Peoples and territories. Weak governance regimes in host and home countries coupled with lack of implementation of the internationally recognized right of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) over projects that affect their land, can lead to conflict.
The North-South Institute's (NSI) Indigenous Perspectives
program, led by Viviane Weitzner, addresses these very issues. Built on more than a decade of applied programming and participatory research conducted in collaboration with Indigenous and Afro-descendant groups of the Americas, the program offers practical guidance for policymakers, mining companies and local peoples to uphold Indigenous rights in decision-making and avoid conflict. More Information
IBA Research Network: Database of IBAs Updated
The Impact and Benefit Agreement (IBA) Research Network recently updated its IBA database on its website. The database provides information on existing IBAs in Canada, and provides links to the aboriginal and industry signatory websites. The IBA Research Network, a partner of CBERN, aims to:
- Connect IBA-focused researchers, consultants, IBA signatories, and Northern governmental/regulatory agencies
- Identify and house all existing IBA-Focused Research, both formal and informal
- Identify IBA Knowledge Gaps
- Work cooperatively to address these knowledge gaps
Access the IBA database at www.impactandbenefit.com
Learning Partnership between the Institute for the Study of CSR and the CSR Counsellor
In October, 2010, the Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility, Ryerson University and the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor announced the launch of their learning partnership on CSR and the extractive sector overseas. The partnership builds a neutral platform to contribute to informed public discussion of important issues related to corporate social responsibility of mining, oil and gas companies, and enhances cross-sector networking opportunities for those interested in these questions. A co-sponsored speaker series has explored a wide variety of extractive sector CSR issues, including dispute resolution/grievance processes at the company level, conflict diamonds and the Kimberley Process, CSR-legal issues associated with Canadian mining operations in Latin America, and an introduction to the review process of the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor. Information concerning upcoming and past events pertaining to the partnership are posted at: www.ryerson.ca/csrinstitute/news/index
CBERN Report to the Naskapi Community: Identifying Knowledge Needs for Mining Development
In January 2012, CBERN prepared and presented its report on identifying knowledge needs for mining development to the Naskapi Steering Committee and the Naskapi community.
CBERN has been working in collaboration with the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach (NNK) since early 2007. The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach is located northeast of the Town of Schefferville on the Québec-Labrador border.
The goal of this initiative has been to ensure that the Naskapi people benefited from mining on their traditional territories and avoided the negative impacts caused by previous mining activity by the Iron Ore Company of Canada. Working with Naskapi leadership, Dr. Wes Cragg, CBERN, and Dr. Ben Bradshaw, University of Guelph, developed a plan to identify community concerns and hopes for mining development on their traditional territory and provide access to the information and knowledge the community needed to address those concerns and hopes. The goal is to provide the community with the information it requires to benefit from development now taking place.
The first step in the plan has now been completed. This report to the Naskapi community describes what the research team found. The second part of the plan is to improve access to information that will help the community address its concerns and realize its hopes for building a better and stronger future.
Read the report on the project website
Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor - Annual Report to Parliament
The annual report to Parliament
of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor was tabled by the Minister of International Trade, Government of Canada on December 14, 2011.
The report summarizes the second year of the existence of the Office, as part of the Government of Canada’s CSR Strategy for the International Extractive Sector.
The role of the Office is to actively promote responsible practices for Canadian companies abroad and to resolve, through constructive dialogue, disputes connected with endorsed performance standards.
Complete information on the process and supporting documents for potential participants are available on the Office’s website
New book: Governance Ecosystems: CSR in the Latin American Mining Sector
The authors explore the complex dynamics of mining and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Latin America, including a reflection on the African continent, presenting arguments and case studies based on new research on a set of urgent and emerging questions surrounding mining, development and sustainability.
As debates rage about the responsibilities of business and government in global extractives industries, there remains a significant lack of empirical research and theoretical analysis focused on the dynamics of resource extraction, governance and corporate social responsibility. This collection takes a broad, ‘governance ecosystem’ view to exploring the complex and cross-cutting relationships between key actors involved in and affected by mining governance in Latin America. Case studies include the Kimberley process over conflict diamonds, the PERCAN Initiative in Peru, the Carajás iron ore complex in the Brazilian Amazon, Apex and Empresa Huanuni in Bolivia, and the gold producers Newmont and Goldcorp.
JULIA SAGEBIEN is an Associate Professor in the School of Business Administration at Dalhousie University, Canada, and Professor in the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico. She is also Senior Fellow at Forum Empresa.
NICOLE MARIE Lindsay is Associate Faculty Member in the Faculty of Management and the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University, Canada.
Business and Human Rights Symposium: Publications
Wes Cragg, Denis Arnold and Peter Muchlinski have edited a special issue of Business Ethics Quarterly focusing on business and human rights: Volume 22, Issue 1. For a limited time, this issue is available for free at: http://secure.pdcnet.org/beq/free
. Wes Cragg is also editing a themed volume on this topic, to be published by Edward Elgar in 2012. Both of these publications feature papers presented and developed at the CBERN-hosted Business and Human Rights Symposium, February 25-28, 2010 at York University, Toronto. Related Links: Business Ethics Quarterly, Volume 22, Issue 1 Business and Human Rights Symposium
CBERN Hosts Project Website on Researching Impacts of Mine Development on Aboriginal Community Health in Canada
This large-scale, multi-disciplinary project, funded by the CIHR and SSHRC, seeks to fill a knowledge gap regarding the impacts of mine development on Aboriginal community health in Canada. The project is lead by CBERN member Benjamin Bradshaw, Associate Professor, Department of Geography at the University of Guelph.
The members of the project team include researchers from across the country, the National Aboriginal Health Organization, the Inuit community of Baker Lake in Nunavut, and AECON, an engineering and environmental planning consultancy. The project aims to:
Uncover and make sense of existing knowledge of the impacts of mining on Aboriginal community health;
Identify attempted interventions (i.e. attempts to mitigate community health impacts) and assess their effectiveness; and
Translate and communicate this gathered knowledge to stakeholders, including communities, companies, policy makers and other interested parties.
Tom Campbell Seminar at York University on CSR and Human Rights
At a seminar at York University on May 17, 2011, Tom Campbell of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University in Australia spoke on “Corporate Social Responsibility: Beyond the Business Case to Human Rights”. The event was organized by CBERN and co-sponsored the Hennick Centre for Business and Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business at the Schulich School of Business and the Ontario Legal Philosophy Partnership.
The seminar attracted a diverse group of twenty-five participants, including mining company representatives, NGO leaders and MBA and PhD students and academics. The seminar explored the idea that a corporation should “act independently of its economic interests where necessary to fulfill its human rights responsibilities” and distinguished intrinsic CSR from corporate business responsibility and corporate philanthropy.
Kernaghan Webb Represents CBERN on Centre for Excellence CSR Committee
Kernaghan Webb, founding director of the Ryerson Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility
, has been named to the Executive Committee of the Centre for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility. The Centre for Excellence
is currently hosted by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) as one of the four pillars of the Canadian government's action plan on CSR, announced in March 2009. Through their website the Centre is creating a knowledge hub on CSR-related practices and approaches as they apply to the extractive sector.
CBERN Co-Organizes Business and Human Rights and Extractives Industry Panel at CSR in Pacific Rim Conference
During the Pacific Region CSR in the Pacific Rim conference, held from April 14-15, 2011, at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, CBERN organized a panel featuring three presenters. Alistair Macleod from Queen’s University presented on human rights and international trade regulation and Wes Cragg from York University presented on human rights and conflicting theories of the purpose of the firm. Catherine Coumans, Asia-Pacific Program and Research Coordinator for Mining Watch, discussed non-judicial accountability mechanisms from the perspective of mining-affected communities and raised difficult issues confronting business regarding human rights, and where the Canadian mining industry is currently falling short.
There were 70 participants and 21 presentations at the conference. Papers from the conference will be published by the UBC Press and a follow-up conference will be held in Shanghai, China, both planned for 2012. Thanks to Simon Handelsman, Pacific Regional Coordinator, for playing a key role in organizing this excellent event. Details, including the live-blogging session archive, are available through the conference website.
The Asia Pacific Dispute Resolution (APDR) Project Enters Stage Two
The Asia Pacific Dispute Resolution Research Project has entered Stage Two of its development. The project, funded by the SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI), is under the direction of Dr. Pitman B. Potter, a professor law and director of Chinese Legal Studies at the University of British Columbia. The APDR focuses on cross-border dispute resolution research and analysis between Canada and Asian countries including China, Japan and Indonesia. The Institute of Asian Research was a co-sponsor, along with CBERN and the National Centre for Business Law, of the CSR in the Pacific Rim Conference held in Vancouver in April 2011. A panel was held during the event, which addressed corporate social responsibility and coordinated compliance. In total about 70 participants attended the event.