Yesterday, Greenfood’s head of Sustainability Lisa Isakson, spoke at the United Nations 9th Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. She spoke on the topic of engaging with, and protecting human rights defenders. In a recent case, Greenfood, together with several other companies, helped a human rights defender in Ecuador and ensured he did not suffer any unfair treatment, an example of how cooperation and joint action between companies and civil society can be a powerful tool.
The UN Forum is the world's largest annual gathering on business and human rights with more than 2,000 participants from government, business, community groups and civil society, law firms, investor organizations, UN bodies, national human rights institutions, trade unions, academia and the media.
Lisa spoke on the topic of engaging with human rights defenders and the necessary steps we have to take to protect them. The UN was particularly interested in a recent case involving human rights defender Jorge Acosta in Ecuador where Greenfood played an important role in defending him from false accusations. Mr Acosta faced several years in jail for creating economic panic for reporting on issues concerning labour conditions in the banana sector. It was an apparent attempt to silence him and if people can't speak freely about the risks in organizations supply chains, identifying and addressing them becomes more difficult.
– In collaboration with Swedwatch and several other companies we sent a joint letter to the Ecuadorian government, explaining that we rely on information from people like Jorge Acosta, calling on the government to protect him in his role as a human rights defender and ensure he did not suffer any unfair treatment. After that, the case was closed, says Lisa Isakson, Head of Sustainability at Greenfood Group.
The case is just one example of how cooperation and joint action between companies and civil society can be a powerful tool in solving both social challenges and environmental ones.
Read more about: the 9th Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights