Annual Report 2018 | September 2019
Technological and other innovations
The UNGP requirement that banks assess actual and potential human rights impacts calls, amongst other things, for access to real-time, up-to-date information. So banks are exploring how technology and other innovations can help with implementing a ‘human rights due diligence’ system.
Current technology insufficient to meet human rights responsibilities
“NIBC is in the early stages of possibly organising a ‘Human Rights Hackathon’, together with other experts, to explore how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies can be used to create tools to help companies in their human rights and sustainability due diligence efforts.
Supply chains are increasingly global. Although companies have a responsibility to respect human rights in their operations and throughout their supply chain, one learning from the IRBC Agreement has been that companies cannot simply rely on existing tools and technology to fulfil their responsibilities.
In practice, this means that companies today have incomplete information and may not be fully aware of their salient adverse impacts. It also means companies may not have the right information at the right time to address existing, and prevent future, adverse human rights impacts.
If the Hackathon is successful, the initial tools may be components of a new human rights due diligence system. Additional tools could be developed or added over time to address other material or salient aspects, including broader sustainability and environmental impacts. The resulting information might even yield commercial opportunities for companies, providing additional positive incentives for them to strengthen human rights and their approach to sustainability.”
Accessing the facts about companies in a post-truth world
“In December 2018, ABN AMRO organised its annual human rights conference on ‘Innovations in Human Rights Due Diligence’. We heard many inspiring stories from a range of different speakers: from Anjali Nayar of TIMBY on an app for creating on-the-ground reportages to Antoine Heuty of Ulula on a platform that increases transparency and accountability by providing real-time insights into supply chain practices. We saw how innovative use of technology can help banks get at the facts about companies in a post-truth world, where sadly access to information is too often deliberately restricted.”