From Frameworks to Profits: Examining the Interdependence of Business and Human Rights

Date & Time:
Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Soda Activity Center: Plaza, 1928 St. Marys Road, Moraga, CA 94575
View a map and get directions.

To RSVP now, click here.

The UN “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” Framework was presented by the special representative of the secretary general (SRSG) to the Human Rights Council in 2008. On the basis of this framework, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) were developed and unanimously endorsed by the Human Rights Council in June 2011. These Guiding Principles provided the first global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity.1

These Guiding Principles are grounded in recognition of2:

  • States’ existing obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • The role of business enterprises as specialized organs of society performing specialized functions, required to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights;
  • The need for rights and obligations to be matched to appropriate and effective remedies when breached.

These guiding principles have provided a roadmap for how businesses can address and implement human rights issues. How have businesses defined and honored human rights? What actions have they taken to comply with standards and prevent violations of human rights, both locally and globally? What are some models and practices that can inspire other businesses to incorporate human rights? How do firms and states move beyond mere state mandated regulations and compliance to ensure that human rights are part of the corporate DNA? The conference seeks reflect to reflect on, discuss, and debate these issues.

Also, as a Catholic college rooted in the tradition of upholding human dignity, the conference aims to promote a dialogue that embeds human rights issues in broader philosophical, ethical, and Catholic frameworks.

The half-day conference will have two panel sessions followed by a keynote speech.

$20 (free for current Saint Mary's students, staff and faculty). RSVP is required.



Event Activity

12:30-1:15 p.m.    

Check-in, Meet & Greet, Light Refreshments

1:15-1:30 p.m.

Welcome Address by Director 
Saroja Subrahmanyan

1:30-3:00 p.m.   

Panel 1: The Language and Framework of Human Rights: Foundations in Ethics, Theology, and Philosophy


  • Brian Buckley {Senior Lecturer, Philosophy, Santa Clara University}
  • Lauren Speeth {Founder & CEO Elfenworks Foundation}
  • Ted Tsukahara {Tutor, Integral Department; Economist; Chair, John F. Henning Institute}

Moderator: Gregory Wolcott {SMC Professor, Department of Organizations & Responsible Business}

3:00-3:15 p.m.    

Refreshment Break

3:15-5:00 p.m.    

Panel 2: Human Rights Implementation and Compliance by Businesses


Moderator: Kevin McGarry {SMC Professor, Accounting Department; Attorney; Associate Director, Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business}

5:00-5:30 p.m.    

Refreshment Break

5:30-6:20 p.m.    

Keynote: From Wrongs to Rights: Why Securing Land Rights is Central to the Business and Human Rights Agenda
Karol Boudreaux {Land Tenure and Resource Rights Practice Lead at The Cloudburst Group; Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thematic Network on Good Governance of Extractive and Land Resources}

6:20-6:30 p.m.    


6:30-7:30 p.m.    

Networking Reception 
Appetizers and refreshments will be served


Karol BoudreauxKarol Boudreaux is a lawyer and land tenure and resource rights expert with two decades of experience as a researcher and development practitioner.  Throughout her career she has supported improvements to the land tenure and resource rights of people and communities around the world, with a strong focus on women's land rights and sub-Saharan Africa. Her research concentrates on analyses of property and land tenure systems, land and conflict and responsible land-based investment. She has published more than 30 articles, book chapters, policy documents and a monograph on property rights. Ms. Boudreaux is lead author of USAID’s Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-Based Investments, a tool for private sectors investors in the commercial agriculture sector. She co-Chairs the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thematic Network on the Good Governance of Extractive and Land Resources. Ms. Boudreaux is currently Land Tenure and Resource Rights Practice Lead at the Cloudburst Group; she previously served as Africa Land Tenure Specialist at USAID and as Assistant Dean at George Mason University's School of Law.


Dr. Saroja Subrahmanyan is a Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business at Saint Mary’s College of California.


1United Nations Human Rights: Office of the High Commissioner, “ Business and Human Rights,”

2“Guiding Principples on Human Rights,”

PDF icon Elfenworks Conference Flyer 2018.pdf5.56 MB

Questions? Contact Dr. Saroja Subrahmanyan, Director of the Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business.