Global businesses are faced with an increasingly complex and interconnected legal, financial and reputation risk agenda related to involvement in human rights and other responsible business conduct risks like conflict financing, financial crime, modern slavery and trafficking and environmental harm. Corporate stakeholders, including employees, consumers, investors and communities are also demanding greater transparency from businesses in relation to their activities, supply chains and business relationships. This creates challenges for businesses as they seek to navigate legal and commercial risks whilst also balancing stakeholders’ expectations with respect to human rights. Alongside these trends, technological innovations are transforming the way businesses increase transparency, manage risks and create value. Distributed Ledger Technology (“DLT”), commonly known as block chain technology, is behind a wave of innovation that has the potential to revolutionize the way global businesses operate across a range of sectors. Framed around investors’ views on human rights risk management and supply chain transparency and focusing on examples from minerals and metals supply chains, this discussion paper outlines some of the potential opportunities and challenges presented by DLT to manage human rights and responsible business conduct risks in supply chains and increase transparency. Whilst this technology presents unique and promising opportunities, practical challenges remain that can be addressed using a range of technology, commercial and legal solutions. Many of the insights presented in this paper are also applicable across other sectors and supply chains. This discussion paper is the result of stakeholder consultations with businesses, investors, advisers and technology providers. Engagement with these stakeholders will continue over coming months and we welcome stakeholders from civil society, regulatory and industry bodies and international organizations to further explore how emerging technologies can support supply chain management.

Discussion Paper: Supply Chain Human Rights Risk Management: Block Chain and Emerging Technology- RCS Global et al, 2018 DOWNLOAD

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