Human Rights in the Energy Industry - University of Houston
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Human Rights in the Energy Industry

Wednesday, September 30th
9:30 AM


*Active on September 30th


Human rights risks have been highlighted as increasingly urgent priorities for businesses and investors over the past decade, and that urgency has been boosted even more by the challenges of the pandemic and increased awareness of racism in America. The UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights clarify that governments have a responsibility to protect human rights while businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights. But how does a business determine what’s required to demonstrate that it respects human rights? What are governments’ priorities and constraints for protecting human rights? And where does the line between the responsibility to respect vs protect, lie for businesses, particularly regarding rights that are critical for workers and host communities on whose trust businesses rely?

This symposium will focus on helping participants understand the challenges and opportunities for the Energy Industry in addressing of Human Rights (HR) including:

  • Gain a better understanding of HR and how it applies to their activities? It will also help participants to visualize risks and possible risk reduction actions
  • Ideas to guide decisions about responsibilities toward protecting HR
  • Ideas on how Business and government representatives can work together in navigating boundary of responsibility
  • Learn best practices in management of HR

Symposium Speakers

Image of Claire Larner

Claire Larner

Director, Sustainability and External Relations, Newmont

Claire Larner is a director for Sustainability and External Relations at Newmont Corporation, supporting global operations with a focus on external relations and social performance. Prior to joining Newmont, she was a consultant assisting clients on a range of issues related to sustainability performance including: the development of corporate standards, supporting guidance and training, stakeholder engagement strategies, human rights due diligence processes and sustainability reporting. She previously worked for the International Council on Mining and Metals, the leading organization for sustainable development in the extractives sector.

Image of Clarita Montant

Clarita Montant

Consultant, Acorn International

Montant is a consultant at Acorn International, specializing in human rights, transitional justice, conflict prevention, politics and diplomacy. She leads the Environment and Sustainable Development Division (ESDD) related lender support for a sugar cane cultivation and power production development in Mexico and an ESDD for a hotel development in the Dominican Republic, in addition to supporting multiple environmental and social impact studies. Montant also leads Acorn International’s human rights training and awareness initiatives. She previously worked with different international organizations including the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, located in Geneva.

Image of Nili Safavi

Nili Safavi

Manager Human Rights and Social Performance, BP

Safavi leads the Human Rights and Social Performance Team within BP’s Health, Safety, Environment and Carbon Function. Her responsibilities include helping BP align with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including integration and enhancement of systems and processes, identification and management of human rights risks, impacts and opportunities, and human rights capability development. She also leads the company’s program on labor rights and managing modern slavery risk, reporting annually to BP management and the board. Prior to joining BP, Safavi worked for DNV as a senior sustainability consultant, advising clients across a wide range of industries on managing human rights, labor practices and societal issues.

Image of Thomas Wlison

Thomas H. Wilson

Partner – Labor and Employment, Vinson & Elkins LLP

Tom Wilson is a partner in the labor, employment and safety practice of Vinson & Elkins LLP, where he has practiced for 35 years. His practice includes representing multinational companies on matters involving international employment and supply chain management, including work on the social aspect of their environmental, social and corporate governance programs. At his urging, the Texas State Bar Association in 2015 created a committee on international human rights; Wilson served as chair for two years and has spoken widely on the topic. He will moderate a panel in November 2020 on government sanctions and human rights during the virtual annual meeting of the International Bar Association.