From Expectation to Business Imperative: A New Age of Corporate Communications on Human Rights

From Expectation to Business Imperative: A New Age of Corporate Communications on Human Rights

by Lisa Manley and Judy Sandford
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The bar for corporate behavior in the #humanrights arena is higher than ever #corpcomms @CSRwire

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Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 12:30pm


The subject of human rights has long been the black sheep of the corporate responsibility (CR) “family” of issues. Respecting and promoting human rights can be a challenge if companies don’t have insight into their human rights practices, impacts and policies. And yet, these rights are so very important to the way we work, the products and services we choose to support, and the opportunities we have in our lives and communities. 

The truth is that for far too many people around the world, human rights are being compromised.  Thankfully, an increasing number of companies are beginning to shape policies, approaches and even communications, to address the human rights issues that are important to their employees, other stakeholders and the sustainability of their business. 

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Lisa Manley is an Executive Vice President Cone Communications. She is a seasoned sustainability professional with nearly 20 years of experience. As a leader of the agency’s CR Strategy group, her infectious passion for sustainability and social impact energizes the award-winning strategy and communications practice. She served as the Executive Vice President of Business + Social Purpose at Edelman where she oversaw strategy development, corporate reporting and strategic philanthropy for brands including Darden Restaurants, HP, Humana Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers, SC Johnson, VF Corporation and Wrigley. Additionally, Lisa has extensive client-side experience after serving as Group Director for The Coca-Cola Company’s Sustainability communications team, where she led worldwide corporate communications and stakeholder engagement in areas of water stewardship, climate protection, sustainable packaging, women’s economic empowerment, and active healthy living.

Judy Sandford is Vice President of CR Strategy for Cone Communications. With more than 20 years of marketing communications experience, Judy has focused the last decade of her career on sustainability communications and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting. Drawing upon her passion for taking CR data beyond the pages of a report, she has helped more than 30 Fortune 500 corporations and leading nonprofits tell their stories and ensured that their stakeholders get the message in the way they prefer to receive it – including interactive web experiences, social media and video. Prior to Cone, Judy founded the Sustainability Communications practice at a New York-based creative agency. There, she educated companies on the latest trends in sustainability reporting with roundtables and webinars covering reporting basics, social media promotion, integrated reporting and science-based goals. For two years, Judy also created and taught a course in Sustainability Communications Strategy & Reporting for the master’s program in Sustainability Management at The Earth Institute, Columbia University.