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Innovation and Design Workshop - Technology Solutions for Workers' Rights in the Supply Chains

Jul 18, 2019
  • 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Verizon, New York City, NY

The Innovators' Network for Enabling Rights presents the Innovation and Design Workshop in New YorkNY on 18-19 July 2019, hosted by Verizon

The Workshop will convene multiple stakeholders in a creative, interactive session to identify 1-to-3 highly promising potential solutions that will enhance the protection of and commitment to the rights of workers in global supply chains. It will also identify a set of next steps for information and communication technology (ICT) industry leaders and human rights advocates to work on collaboratively.

Background. GeSI's mission is to build a sustainable world through responsible, information and communications technology (ICT)-enabled transformation. GeSI comprises 50+ members from the world's leading technology companies, along with dozens of partners leading efforts to advance environmental and social sustainability. GeSI is a leading source of impartial information, resources and best practices for achieving integrated social and environmental sustainability through ICT. 

GeSI recently launched a research report, #Enabling Rights: The Transformative Potential of Digital to Enable People's Rights. This extensive report details the potential of ICT to support those working to advance civic, political, and economic rights around the world. It highlights specific digital technology solutions that are being applied to address a dozen pressing human rights challenges affecting billions of individuals. The report calls for the ICT industry to work with human rights defenders to develop, promote, and apply technology for human rights. 

A key recommendation in the report is to create the Innovators' Network to Enable Human Rights (INHR). The mission of the INHR will be to coordinate the collective capabilities of ICT industry leaders, human rights organizations, policy-makers, academia, and social innovators, to accelerate and scale up the development and application of technology that enables human rights.

The Challenge. A core tenet of responsible business practice is for companies to ensure they source from suppliers that actively respect the human rights of their workers. Yet, holding suppliers accountable, and ensuring workers across global supply chains are protected remains one of the most challenging tasks for companies to manage. Current approaches are not sufficient. Digital technology has great potential to help if corporate buyers, suppliers, labor rights defenders, and workers can guide technology developers on their needs in a way that inspires breakthrough innovations. The ICT industry, working collaboratively with human rights advocates, can then scale up effective technology solutions that enable the rights of workers.

This Workshop will generate ideas for some of the world's leading ICT companies and technology-savvy social entrepreneurs to help solve. The Workshop will focus on developing digital solutions to:

  • Increase the accountability of suppliers across the value chain
  • Empower workers to protect their rights
  • Protect workers from abuse, duress and forced labor.

The Workshop will develop 1-3 potential solutions that inspire enthusiasm among participants. GeSI Member companies will query participants on how to best support these solutions by applying their:

  • Design and engineering capabilities
  • Products, services and emerging technologies such as, but not limited to the application of 5G,Internet of Things (IoT) systems, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, mobile technology, fixed networks, cybersecurity, video and image transmission and analysis, social media platforms, system interoperability and convergence among others
  • Ability to apply solutions at scale
  • Resources such as the contribution of skilled volunteers
  • Other resources to be discussed.

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