Today: 14-04-2024

Trailblazing Advocacy: Mary Robinson Calls for Bold Corporate Action in Phasing Out Fossil Fuels at COP28

"Mary Robinson Champions Bold Corporate Action for Climate Crisis Resolution

Renowned human rights advocate Mary Robinson is urging companies to be '10 times bolder' in their stance on the climate crisis and actively call for a complete phase-out of fossil fuels. Robinson, former Irish president and recipient of the Responsible Business honouree award at Reuters Events' annual Responsible Business Awards in London, contends that global corporations must leverage their influence to champion an ambitious agreement addressing climate change and nature loss at the upcoming United Nations COP28 climate conference in Dubai.

In an exclusive interview on the eve of the awards ceremony, Robinson stressed the urgency of adopting a 'crisis mentality' toward climate issues. She believes that businesses, by acknowledging the severity of the crisis and treating it as such, can significantly contribute to a transformative mindset among political leaders. Robinson, who served as Ireland's first woman president and later as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has long advocated for increased ambition from both businesses and governments in addressing climate change and promoting a just transition.

In contrast to many climate activists, Robinson's engagement stems not only from environmental concerns but also from a commitment to protecting and enhancing human rights. The Responsible Business Awards judges acknowledged her 'outstanding lifetime commitment to public service' and her dedication to creating a world that prioritizes justice and equality. Robinson's awareness of climate change's detrimental impact on women's empowerment, youth development, and various human rights issues was heightened during her trips to Africa in the early 2000s.

As the world prepares for COP28, Mary Robinson's call for businesses to be 10 times bolder reflects a resounding plea for concerted, impactful action in the face of the escalating climate crisis."

"Pioneering Advocacy: Mary Robinson's Enduring Impact on Corporate Responsibility

Reflecting on the genesis of her journey as a staunch advocate for human rights within the corporate landscape, Mary Robinson harks back to the launch of the U.N. Global Compact. Initiated by then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Global Compact invited companies to commit to 10 principles encompassing human rights, labour rights, environmental protection, and anti-corruption measures. In her role as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Robinson saw an opportunity for businesses to become agents of positive change, challenging the prevailing notion that corporations were inherently 'the bad guys.'

Robinson's deep-rooted belief in holding corporations accountable to human rights principles led her to advocate for clear standards in business practices. Her tenure as the founding chair of the Institute for Human Rights and Business from 2009-2012, and her continued role as a patron, exemplify her sustained commitment to placing human rights at the forefront of the corporate agenda.

A pivotal moment occurred in 2011 during the development of the U.N.'s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Robinson engaged in 'sharp conversations' with John Ruggie, the lead author, emphasizing the need for a human rights-centered approach. Her insistence on prioritizing people over business considerations has significantly influenced contemporary thinking, particularly in the realm of corporate climate leadership.

Today, a growing cadre of senior executives championing climate action recognizes the intrinsic link between averting irreversible climate change and their business interests. Mary Robinson's enduring legacy underscores the importance of marrying corporate success with a steadfast commitment to human rights, paving the way for a more conscientious and responsible corporate landscape."

"Mary Robinson's Unyielding Call: Corporate Leaders as Champions of Climate Solutions

In Mary Robinson's narrative, the urgent need for corporate leaders to embrace their pivotal role in climate change solutions is a refrain she has championed for over two decades. From her tenure as the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Climate Change (2014-2015) to her current involvement in impactful initiatives like the B Team and The Elders, Robinson consistently underscores the transformative potential of businesses in addressing climate challenges. As the chair of The Elders, an independent group founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, Robinson remains dedicated to fostering peace, justice, human rights, and a sustainable planet.

Robinson's belief in the positive role of business takes on renewed significance against the backdrop of an expanding global footprint of businesses and escalating climate change impacts since she left political office in 1997. The African continent, for instance, witnessed over 110 million people being adversely affected by weather, climate, and water-related hazards in 2022 alone. Ahead of COP28, Robinson emphasizes the pressing need for progressive business leaders to vocalize concerns about climate inaction and galvanize policymakers toward greater ambition.

Approaching her 80th year, Robinson displays no signs of slowing down. Current concerns on her agenda include the concerning backlash in the United States against the adoption of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. She also addresses the critical yet delicate issue of the dash for rare metals and minerals, vital for green technologies but potentially encroaching on the rights of host communities if not managed responsibly. Robinson calls for vigilance and a steadfast insistence on corporate responsibility, particularly in mega projects that may overlook indigenous and local rights.

While modern corporations weren't originally designed to champion human rights, Robinson remains undeterred, drawing inspiration from her peer, Nelson Mandela. As the global conversation on climate action intensifies, Mary Robinson stands as a steadfast advocate, urging business leaders to recognize their potential as agents of positive change in combating climate challenges."

"Nelson Mandela's Enduring Wisdom: Mary Robinson's Inspirational Reflection

In the tapestry of Mary Robinson's advocacy, Nelson Mandela's timeless words echo as a guiding force: 'It always seems impossible until it is done.' A sentiment she quotes regularly, it encapsulates the essence of relentless perseverance and the belief that transformative change is within reach. Reflecting on Mandela's enduring wisdom, Robinson emphasizes how these words instill a collective sense of 'yes, we can do it'—a mantra that propels her commitment to climate action and corporate responsibility.

Against the backdrop of the Reuters Events' Responsible Business Awards 2023, where Robinson was honored, the awards underscore the impactful efforts of organizations contributing to responsible business practices. Among the distinguished winners were CEZ Group, recognized for Reporting and Transparency; Business for Nature for Purpose-driven Communications; Geopost for Net Zero Transition; and many more, each showcasing exemplary contributions in various domains of responsible business.

As Mary Robinson continues to draw inspiration from Mandela's resilience, her unwavering advocacy for sustainable practices and climate action remains a beacon, reinforcing the collective belief that the seemingly impossible can indeed be achieved."

"As Mary Robinson continues to embody Nelson Mandela's indomitable spirit, the recognition at the Reuters Events' Responsible Business Awards 2023 serves as a testament to the enduring impact of her advocacy. Mandela's profound words, 'It always seems impossible until it is done,' resonate as a powerful reminder that transformative change is not only possible but within our grasp. In the diverse array of award winners, each celebrated for their contributions to responsible business practices, the collective belief in the attainability of positive change is reaffirmed. Robinson's commitment to climate action and corporate responsibility remains a guiding force, emphasizing that, indeed, the seemingly insurmountable challenges can be overcome through unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts."