CHALLENGE: SEEKING TO UNDERSTAND AND ADDRESS INDUSTRY-LEVEL HUMAN AND CHILD RIGHTS IMPACTS, THE STARWOOD FOUNDATION PARTNERED WITH UNICEF AND ARTICLE ONE TO CONDUCT A HUMAN AND CHILD RIGHTS IMPACT ASSESSMENT IN A POPULAR TOURISM DESTINATION
Our decision to embark on a country-level human and child rights impact assessment was driven by the work we did with Article One at a corporate level, which led to an opportunity for furthering respect for human rights across the hotel industry. Article One led the entire HRIA from start to finish, including coordination of multiple partners and subject matter experts, desk-based research, and in-country interviews of 400+ internal and external stakeholders. Article One demonstrated true skill in compiling all results into an actionable final report with clear and concise recommendations for how businesses, government and industry can further promote human rights, which the Starwood Foundation was proud to share across the industry for concrete and actionable change
— Michelle Naggar, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Foundation, Inc.
Article One, in partnership with the Starwood Foundation and UNICEF, developed a five-phased approach to conducting the human and child rights impact assessment (HRIA). The assessment focused on operational hotels in three popular markets and looked at actual and potential impacts related to labor practices, supplier practices and community-level impacts—at an industry level.
The five phases included:
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Child Rights and Business Principles outline the need for direct engagement with potentially affected individuals and communities and their legitimate representatives. Given this, Article One’s approach to conducting the assessment emphasized ongoing stakeholder engagement throughout each phase of the project. This included:
- Establishing a Stakeholder Advisory Board comprised of leading experts on business and human rights and the tourism industry. The Board provided ongoing input into the methodology and understanding of country-level findings.
- Conducting targeted engagement with over 80 representatives from civil society, multilateral organizations, government, suppliers, industry associations and unions.
- Directly engaging with over 350 rightsholders including hotel employees, local children and vulnerable groups (including indigenous community leaders and trafficking survivors).
A primary objective of the assessment was to raise the tourism industry’s level of understanding of human and child rights risks. As such, we worked closely with the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) to update their members of the assessment methodology and findings. This included multiple in-person engagements to present salient risks and opportunities as well as an engagement with hotel leaders in country to develop potential solutions to address salient risks.
In addition, the assessment resulted in the following benefits:
- Greater awareness of human and child rights risks at an operational level – including the potential for misalignment between policy and practice.
- Increased stakeholder understanding of the actual and potential impact of tourism on child rights through the development of a UNICEF briefing paper.
- Improved understanding of how to effectively conduct human and child rights impact assessments at the destination level through a methodology briefing paper.