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Business Network

Businesses are increasingly faced with threats to the rule of law, both domestically and overseas. In this uncertain climate, business understanding of, and action to support, the rule of law has never been more urgent.

The Business Network is comprised of leading companies who are committed to advancing the rule of law globally. Launched by the Bingham Centre in 2017, it is founded on the understanding that the business community has a great interest in, and the ability to contribute to, stronger rule of law.

The Business Network provides a forum for members to discuss rule of law priorities and challenges in the countries in which they operate. Members are invited to attend meetings, roundtables and events, and participate in research and capacity building initiatives. The Network informs the Bingham Centre's Business and Rule of Law programme, which provides timely research, training and events on rule of law issues that are of practical concern for business.

Members

The Network is chaired by Graham Vinter, former General Counsel of BG Group plc. The members include:

  • Anglo American
  • BP
  • BT Group
  • Diageo
  • HSBC
  • NestlĂ©
  • Rio Tinto
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Shell International
  • Unilever

Current projects

The first project supported by the Business Network launched in May 2018, entitled "When national law conflicts with international human rights standards: Recommendations for Business". The full report is available here.

In commenting on the report, Mark Gregory, General Counsel at Rolls-Royce said:

Companies crave legal certainty when making business decisions. This report identifies the ambiguity surrounding the topic and helps frame a path forward out of these difficult situations.

The Business Network is also supporting Rule of Law Capacity Building for in-house lawyers and senior managers. More information on the Business Network is available here.

Launch

The Bingham Centre's new Business Network, chaired by Graham Vinter, formerly of BG Group was launched on 18 January 2017.

FTSE100 leaders, BP, BT, Diageo, HSBC, Shell, Unilever, and Vodafone have pledged their support for The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law's Business Network.

The event was opened by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, The Lord Chief Justice who welcomed this new initiative and encouraged other leading global companies to get involved.

Lord Thomas noted:

We are world leaders in business law; we are becoming world leaders in adapting our court system to operateefficiently through the use of technology. I very much hope that the benefit to all our businesses, especially those whose operations in countries where the legal systems are not as developed, really will see the benefit of change.The opportunities are amazing. Many countries look to us as leaders. It is that long-term benefit to all our international companies that we should see as a prize we cannot let go. We therefore need a body like the Bingham Centre to give coherence to the great potential I have outlined.

You can read the full transcript of the Lord Chief Justice's speech here.

He was joined on the panel by Siobhan Moriarty, Diageo Chief Counsel who stated:

For Diageo effective rule of law provides the clarity and structure enabling us to carry on business in an environment that mitigates the risks and challenges I referred to earlier and also works for the greater good.

You can read the full transcript of Ms Moriarty's speech here.

Guy Beringer, Co-Chair of the Bingham Development Board, brought proceedings to a close. Explaining that:

The Bingham Business Network is essentially about corporate risk and its management. We believe that the rule of law lies at the heart of a number of uncharted and intractable areas of risk for the modern international business.

You can read the full transcript of Guy Beringer's speech here.

Joining the Business Network

The Business Network is open to companies of any size and from any part of the world, providing they have a demonstrable commitment to advancing the rule of law globally. Members pay an annual membership and are invited to participate in and support BIICL projects.

If you are interested in finding out how your company can get involved please contact:

UK enquiries

Florence Skinner
Development Manager

US enquiries

Ulysses Smith 
Director of the Business and Rule of Law Program

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