Business and Human Rights

Business and Human Rights

What are human rights? Human rights are about promoting and protecting the values of respect, dignity and equality for every person, irrespective of race, sex, religion, political opinion, disability, sexuality, social status, age or any other characteristic.  Human rights standards are part of international law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the best known of these standards. But there are many other human rights treaties dealing with a wide range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

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Doughnut Economics

Doughnut Economics

The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") fromοἶκος (oikos, "house") and νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold for good management)".  The Economist's Dictionary of Economics defines economics as "the study of the production, distribution and consumption of wealth in human society."  Economics has also been described as a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.  Scarcity in this context typically relates to inputs to production such as human and financial capital.

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Lessons from Bhopal

Lessons from Bhopal

December 2nd this year will mark the 30th year anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster, the scale of which was unprecedented.  Around 4,000 people perished, around 4,000 more were severely or permanently disabled, around 40,000 were temporarily partially injured and over half a million were injured.  The stillbirth rate increased by up to 300% and neonatal rate by around 200%.

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Clearing the Air

Clearing the Air

In Australia, we take clean air for granted. But, globally clean air is becoming a scarce commodity due to the continued growth in the uptake of polluting forms of energy. Last year, Chinese multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao made headlines across the world when he sold 10 million ‘cans of fresh air’ in the 10 days for $0.80c each as pollution levels climbed to record highs. His effort was tongue-in-cheek, to advocate for better air quality, with proceeds going to poor regions.

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The ASX increases focus on sustainability disclosure

The ASX increases focus on sustainability disclosure

The 3rd Edition of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, released last month by the ASX Corporate Governance Council, formally recognises that economic, environmental and social sustainability issues form a crucial part of the risk landscape for publicly listed companies

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ASX focus on social and environmental risk and disclosure welcomed

ASX focus on social and environmental risk and disclosure welcomed

Changes to the ASX Governance Principles and Recommendations announced today have been welcomed by leading sustainability advisory firm Net Balance.

It has applauded the introduction of Recommendation 7.4 which asks companies to disclose whether it has any material exposure to economic, environmental and social sustainability risks and, if it does, how it manages those risks.

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Emerging economies leapfrogging on sustainability

Emerging economies leapfrogging on sustainability

In Australia, sustainability is still perceived by many as an unnecessary bottom line expense tagged to good corporate citizenship and responsibility rather than offering business a strategic competitive advantage. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to Australians (and for that matter most developed countries) that emerging economies are indeed gearing up to leapfrog their developed counterparts on innovation through sustainability.

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Beginning with B

Beginning with B

Recently, Sir Richard Branson launched the ‘B Team’ (bteam.org). Note, not the ‘A Team’. The B Team is a plan with a single purpose: to make business work better. How? By shifting the focus from just financial gains, towards environmental and social gains as well. The B Team will achieve this vision by dividing their agenda into specific ‘grand challenges’ that they act on. Each Challenge, led by a B Team business leader, will empower and enable business people around the world to transform how business is done. The B Team is made up of the ‘A list’ of thought and business leaders including Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin Group, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Ariana Huffington, Chair of The Huffington Post.

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Winners of the 2013 Banksia awards

Winners of the 2013 Banksia awards

Net Balance was thrilled to be part of this milestone event as finalists from across Australia gathered in Melbourne last week to learn who would take home the honours in a range of categories ranging from land and biodiversity management through to the indigenous award for caring for country.

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A Conversation with the Future

A Conversation with the Future

The National Sustainability Council was established by the Australian Government in October 2012 to provide independent advice on sustainability issues to the government. The council’s remit includes reporting against the sustainability indicators every two years and highlighting key trends and emerging issues for policy and decision makers and communities in Australia. Chaired by Prof. John Thwaites, the Council’s first report, released in May this year is titled ‘Conversations with the Future’.

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An eye on the future

An eye on the future

Since the GFC, every in-depth business or government conversation is clouded with the sense that uncertainty is the new norm. That the economy is wobbly, that environmental degradation is adding to its volatility and societal unrest is concerning governments and businesses, especially in nations with high levels of unemployment. If you imagine being in a rowing boat, you’ve just managed to lose some of your oars, the waters have become choppy and some of your crew have become tired and agitated. What do you do?

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Happiness at Work

Happiness at Work

Two recent seminars by Net Balance on happiness at  work found that the topic hit a chord with corporate Australia, with the  sessions being oversubscribed. The keynote was happiness and wellbeing  researcher Nic Marks, who was also instrumental in creating the Happy Planet Index.

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Net Balance to sponsor the Banksia Sustainability Awards

Net Balance to sponsor the Banksia Sustainability Awards

Net Balance is proud to be the sponsoring the prestigious Banksia awards for the categories’ of Local Government Sustainability Award and the Leading in Sustainability - Setting the Standard for Large Organisations Award for 2013, 2014 and 2015. 

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