Business and Human Rights – friend or foe?

Business and the world economy in a new global order. What will it take for business to create a positive change?

Time: 8 Dec 2022 07:00 - 10:00
Place: The National Museum

Seats are limited, sign up today – digital or live in Oslo:

Join us with moderator Ghida Fakhry, Lebanese-British journalist and former lead anchor Al Jazeera with a great line of speakers:

  • Paul Polman, Author and former CEO Unilever
  • Berit Lindeman, Secretary General, Norwegian Helsinki Committee
  • Hilde Merete Aasheim, President & CEO, Hydro
  • Børge Brende, World Economic Forum
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Chief Executive Officer, ICMM

Mahinthan Mariasingham, Asian Development Bank
.... and more

About Real Business

Business cannot succeed in societies that fail. The Real Business seminars represent an arena where business and society meet. Real stories and difficult dilemmas are shared and discussed, creating new dialogues, perspectives and ideas. Real Business is hosted by Hydro and the Nobel Peace Center. We invite decision makers, future leaders, politicians, the business community and society to discuss, learn and get new perspectives on how business and society can work together and create positive change.


Moderator: Ghida Fakhry, recent Al Jazeera New York Anchor.

08:00 – 09:00 Registration and breakfast
09:00 – 09:05 Welcome by Kjersti Fløgstad, Nobel Peace Center
09:05 – 09:35 The Economist – Launch of research paper followed by a dialogue between business and civil society looking at the role of business in society and discussions on the challenges and dilemmas we all meet.
09:35 – 10:45 We invite business and civil society to look at what will it take for business to create a positive change in society within the topics described above.
10:45 – 10:55 Summary and pledge


The Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 was awarded to Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties. They were awarded the prize for their fight for the right to criticize power and uphold basic human rights, and for their effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.

Civil society plays an important role in uncovering abuses of power, the fight for human rights and holding authorities and businesses accountable. But what about the business sector? How can businesses play a role in supporting civil society and safeguarding human rights? This seminar aims to engage international business in dialogue to seek how they can contribute to creating a positive change in society.

Global corporations could become powerful allies in advancing human rights’ agendas and societal issues with governments or with regards to public opinion. It has already been more than 10 years since the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights that defined guidelines for States and companies, in order to prevent and address human rights abuses committed in business operations. However, business can often be seen more as an opponent than a friend in creating peaceful societies and supporting human rights. What is the business sector’s role in supporting building of democratic institutions, development of society and protecting human rights?

Hydro has initiated a research paper that The Economist Insight is conducting on the backdrop of global events such as the tension US-China, Covid, the green transition and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The global order is changing, and with it the global economy. We look at how this can shape trade, economic cooperation and corporate social responsibility.

The event is a part of the series “Real Business” organized in cooperation with Hydro. The event will be in English and will also be livestreamed. More info coming.