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GBSN for Business & Human Rights Exhibition | Conversations with the Next Generation


The Rana Plaza factory located in Dhaka district (Bangladesh) collapsed on 24 April 2013. 1,134 people died and an estimated 2,500 people were injured. The collapse is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history. 

The Rana Plaza factory collapse led to worldwide outcry and pressure on fashion companies to change their business practices. As an immediate reaction to the disaster, apparel brands, retailers and workers unions signed a global framework agreement to improve occupational safety and health standards in the Bangladeshi garment industry: the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, otherwise known as “the Accord”. 

The accident also played an important role in the field of business and human rights. In France, one of the countries related to the event through French apparel and retailer companies supply chain, the factory collapse accelerated efforts by lawmakers to adopt duty of vigilance legislation, passed in March 2017. Other legislations were adopted by local and national authorities in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The debate has since expanded at the global level and within regional authorities, the European Union currently working on a proposed mandatory human rights due diligence legislation: the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence directive.

To reflect on the legacy of this dramatic event, GBSN is inviting our global community to engage and facilitate conversations in their local communities for wider dissemination. Conversations can take the form of event recordings, various forms of publications, illustrations, multimedia presentations, audio recordings, and more.

These conversations should be designed to include business school students, their lecturers and key business and human rights stakeholders including business professionals, policymakers, and civil society.

“Rana Plaza is an emblematic case study for the role of human rights in business.

Discussing root causes and the systemic human rights risks that resulted in the Rana Plaza tragedy is highly relevant for students that are training to become future business executives.

On the tenth anniversary of Rana Plaza, we want to learn from this tragic case in conversation with business school students. We need to build their capacity to transform business models so that human rights are at the core of all business operations.”

Dorothee Baumann-Pauly

Objectives of this activity



Commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster and pay tribute to the victims of BHR violations



Empower students interested in business and human rights to speak up about BHR issues



Share examples of ongoing challenges, promising solutions and legislative action on BHR issues



Inform the management education community and the broader public about the efforts of GBSN to advance business school education on BHR

How to Organize a “Conversation”

Conversations should be organized by one or several lecturers, ideally with the active participation of students. Several steps to a successful event:

  1. Identify a locally relevant business and human rights issue: challenges within a specific industry, business- or industry-wide solutions to address human rights risks, effectiveness or opportunity of legislation, etc. 
  2. Invite a speaker to discuss this issue with students and lecturers. Prepare the conversation with students so they can take an active role in the event.
  3. Organize and record the conversation, bearing in mind that the recording will be featured on a global platform. The duration of the recording should not exceed one hour.

For any assistance, reach out to Charles Autheman – charles.autheman@gmail.com.