Mainstreaming the People Part of Sustainable Business
Exploring Barriers, Approaches and Solutions

Expert Meeting

This Expert Meeting is aimed at mapping out the challenges that keep business enterprises from mainstreaming the people-part of sustainable business and reflecting on possible ways forward.

It will be a closed session, held in English – under Chatham House Rule – involving a selected audience of experts from the business community (including CEOs, General Counsels and CSR managers), but also some experts from government, sustainability initiatives like Global Compact and GRI, and the Erasmus University Departments of Law and Business Management. There will be a plenary session in the morning with several keynote speakers and breakout sessions in the afternoon.

In this meeting, we will not only reflect on barriers and breakthroughs of current initiatives, like the Dutch Sector Agreements on International Responsible Business Conduct, but also explore new ideas for interventions at the company, sector and societal level. Examples are: applying a living wage across the supply chain; regulating responsible business conduct to create a level playing field; acceleration of responsible business conduct through the financial sector; using blockchain in supply chains to record intangibles such as working conditions. The output of this meeting will inform the multidisciplinary (legal and management) ‘Research Agenda 2022’ of the Erasmus Research Platform on Sustainable Business & Human Rights, which will be aimed at supporting responsible and sustainable business conduct in global value chains. As part of this Research Agenda, we will actively involve companies in the research and share our results with them.


Over the past decade, the foundations for sustainable business have been established, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, many forms of implementation guidance and practice have been developed (e.g. by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, SHIFT, Global Compact, GRI). However, whereas many companies are starting to realize the planet-part of sustainable business, the people-part seems more difficult to address. Hence, the challenge for the next decade is to create the necessary conditions and strategies for mainstreaming the people-part of sustainable business within companies and across value chains to meet the current and future needs of society.

Who we are

We are the Erasmus Research Platform on Sustainable Business & Human Rights, a group of researchers from the Rotterdam School of Management and the Erasmus School of Law. Our aim is to conduct cutting-edge and multidisciplinary research on the combination of innovative management stances - enabling the transition to proactive value creation - and innovative legal arrangements for proactive business conduct, beyond compliance, in global value chains (e.g. contractual, dispute resolution, legislative, multi-stakeholder, industry arrangements). We engage and reach out to companies in order to strongly connect our research with challenges and dilemmas companies are facing in this area. The meeting will inform our ‘Research Agenda 2022’. This agenda is part of the EUR Initiative ‘Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity’, which focusses on aligning business, government and society for long-term inclusive prosperity.

Your experience is crucial

Considering your experience on this topic, we think that your insights and opinions are crucial for this Expert Meeting. Therefore, we hope you will be able to attend the meeting. In case you are not able to attend or feel that someone else in your organization might make a more suitable candidate in light of the specific issues to be addressed, we would much appreciate any suggestions you may have. 

Event information

Date: 15 May 2019

Venue: Campus Woudestein, Erasmus University, Burg. Oudlaan  50, 3062 PA Rotterdam

Programme: 09:30 – 16.30


Please choose the workshop you would like to attend.
Workshop 13:30-14.30
Workshop 14:45-15:45
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