Human Rights AND Business? “It’s possible!” – Markus Loening
Co-organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), German Embassy and the German Club, the Economic Forum on Role of Business in Society: Trends in Germany and its Implications, was held on 20 July 2017 at the German Club, Manila. Known as GPCCI’s regular Wirtschaftsstammtisch, this forum centers on Human Rights and Responsible Business, with renowned human rights in business specialist Mr. Markus Loening. Mr. Loening was the commissioner of the Federal Government for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid from 2010-2014, and was a member of the German Bundestag (Parliament) from 2002-2009. He currently runs his own consultancy firm, Löning – Human Rights & Responsible Business, which is composed of multidisciplinary experts that support companies to effectively integrate respect for human rights into their corporate strategies. He also chairs the Human Rights Committee of the Liberal International, the world federation of liberal political parties.
Members of the GPCCI, mostly composed of executives of German and Philippine companies, attended the forum. By illustrating German companies’ experiences, Mr. Loening provided the trends and strategies can also be useful to businesses in the Philippines. Asked if human rights will become a more critical element in forming their business strategy, Mr. Loening steadfastly replied, "Yes. In Germany, 88% of companies view human rights as a very important issue. Young members of the workforce are now more critical and concerned about the company they work in. They want to be part of a more responsible and reputable organization." He also stressed the importance of including policies that leverage human rights and how compliance to such will have sustained benefits: freedom of association, freedom from discrimination, and freedom of expression, are just some of the rights that are relevant to business.
“Mr. Loening provided a stronger validation that intertwining human rights and business is perfectly possible. As a Foundation that supports both human rights and free market, this gives a positive outlook on the future of doing business in the Philippines. Thank you for the rich insights that you shared with us, Mr. Loening,” says Wolfgang Heinze, Country Director of FNF Philippines.
FNF Philippines is a German non-profit organization that supports human rights, free market and rule of law. It facilitates local and international dialogues and other forms of civic education that aim to uphold freedom and democracy.