BSR is releasing a paper that sets out the key elements of a human rights-based approach to the use of data and technology solutions during public health emergencies.

In May 2020, a Korean man visited a series of bars and clubs in the Itaewon district of Seoul. The next day, he tested positive for COVID-19 and the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention snapped into action. To find out who the man might have come into contact with they combined different data sources, including credit card transactions from the clubs and bars he visited and GPS locations of mobile phones in the area at the time.

Some of this information was shared with the media, who reported the places the man had visited and noted that some were gay clubs. This led to the LGBTQ+ community being blamed for new COVID-19 cases and resulted in a surge in discrimination in a country where stigma against queer communities remains high.

The data collection and sharing practices of South Korea’s contact tracing system effectively risked the forced outing of LGBTQ+ Koreans. One man told The Guardian, “My credit card company told me they passed on my payment information in the [Itaewon] district to authorities. I feel so trapped and hunted down. If I get tested, my company will most likely find out I’m gay. I’ll lose my job and face public humiliation.”

As countries around the world continue to battle outbreaks of COVID-19, South Korea has been held up as an example of how to successfully limit the spread of the pandemic. Widespread technology and data use, from contact tracing to quarantine enforcement, has been a key part of this success. Many other countries have taken note and attempted to follow suit by integrating technology into their own responses. While this can be a win for public health and safety, the example above shows how technology and data use for pandemic response can facilitate human rights violations.

In the current COVID-19 landscape, data and technology solutions can be used for many positive outcomes, such as facilitating “back to work” effortsenhancing research into COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and allowing the resumption of economic activity while also protecting public health. However, these uses may also result in the infringement of privacy rights, new forms of discrimination, and harm to vulnerable groups. Some governments are using the emergency as an excuse to expand their power, leading to concerns that initiatives launched to address COVID-19 could become permanent forms of state surveillance.

As the providers of data and digital infrastructure, technology companies are often central in public health emergency response efforts. A company's responsibility to respect human rights does not disappear during a public health emergency—indeed, the severity of adverse human rights impacts makes it even more essential that companies undertake robust human rights due diligence.

A company's responsibility to respect human rights does not disappear during a public health emergency—indeed, the severity of adverse human rights impacts makes it even more essential that companies undertake robust human rights due diligence.

With the support of Microsoft, BSR developed a human rights framework for responsible business decision-making before, during, and after public health emergencies. The framework is intended to be used as part of human rights due diligence to guide business decisions related to technology and data use in response to public health emergencies. It is informed by a combination of international human rights law related to states of emergency; allowable limitations and derogations of rights; relevant regulations, standards, and principles grounded in human rights,;and lessons learned from past emergencies.

There are various human rights norms, principles, and standards that can help navigate a pathway through these dilemmas. For example, Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its accompanying General Comment 29 allow governments to derogate from specified human rights during times of public emergency. The Siracusa Principles, adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council in 1984, describe limitations on the restriction of human rights that governments may apply for reasons of public health or national emergency.

However, three factors are challenging the application of these principles today:

In addition to the framework, BSR’s report, Decisions, Decisions, Decisions. Responsible Decision-Making Before, During, and After Public Health Emergencies, makes recommendations for companies to help ensure they take rights-respecting approaches to future public health emergencies. These can be summarized as follows:

Act: What Companies Should Do Internally

Although responding to public health emergencies requires swift action, companies must still carry out human rights due diligence to identify, prevent, and mitigate their human rights impacts and foresee the possible impacts of their decisions. The framework outlined in the report can help companies balance privacy rights with the protection of public health.

In their quest to take action, companies should also take care to avoid known pitfalls of applying technological solutions to social problems. This includes things like ensuring a tech or data-based solution is the right one for the given context, working with appropriate government authorities, creating effective escalation processes for handling government requests and contracts during times of emergency, and avoiding open-ended projects.

Enable: How Companies Should Work with Others

Public health solutions are seldom executed from start to finish by a single company. Businesses therefore must be as transparent as possible about the work they are doing and effectively engage with relevant stakeholders, including other companies in the industry and governments, who are often the customers for technology solutions. Through transparency and working with their peers, customers, and partners, companies can create more effective public health solutions and prevent scope creep or misuse.

Influence: How Companies Should Influence Public Policy

Governments have the obligation to protect human rights and therefore have an important role to play in ensuring that pandemic solutions do not unduly limit the rights of their citizens. As governments come to companies with various health emergency-related requests, companies have an opportunity to advocate for rights-respecting approaches and push back on requests that cross the line. Companies can also advocate for standards or regulations that provide clarity on the on the balance between privacy and public health, as well as stronger health data regulations that close loopholes related to non-traditional health data. When companies are required by a government to share data beyond what is necessary and proportionate, they should push back as much as possible.

Although COVID-19 may be the first truly global pandemic of the modern age, it certainly won’t be the last—in fact, experts expect that pandemics will become increasingly common, and business involvement in addressing them will only grow. However, while the public health crises of the future may share some features with the COVID-19 pandemic, they may vary in other ways too—such as different dynamics of transmission, severity of the illness, availability of treatment, and the necessary control measures—and it will be important to both take the lessons learned from COVID-19 and be able to apply them in different contexts.

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Med støtte fra Realdania skal 13 af landets almene boligorganisationer nu undersøge, hvordan deres renoveringsprojekter kan udføres så bæredygtigt som muligt. Viden, der på sigt skal sætte grønne aftryk i hele landets almene boligsektor.

Hvad er den klimamæssige effekt, hvis man renoverer en boligblok med genanvendte mursten fra en anden blok, der skal rives ned? Det skal Boligkontoret Danmark nu undersøge i et renoveringsprojekt til 118 mio. kr. i Nakskov, mens boligorganisationen FSB skal blive klogere på, hvordan man i et kommende renoveringsprojekt til 35 mio. kr. i København kan sikre en så lille CO2-belastning som muligt, når blandt andet gamle vinduer skal skiftes ud.

De to renoveringsprojekter i den almene boligsektor er blandt de i alt 13, der med støtte fra Realdania skal udarbejde en bæredygtighedsanalyse og gennem den blive endnu klogere på, hvordan deres renoveringsprojekt kan gennemføres endnu mere klimamæssigt optimalt.

"Nu giver vi 13 renoveringsprojekter i den almene boligsektor mulighed for at gå i front og indhente værdifuld viden om alt fra genanvendelse af byggematerialer til bæredygtige ventilationsløsninger. Men den viden skal ikke kun komme de 13 til gode. Foran os ligger en stor og vigtig opgave i at brede al den nye læring ud til resten af landets almene boligorganisationer og i fællesskab nedbringe udledningen af drivhusgasser," siger Nina Kovsted Helk, filantropidirektør i Realdania.

Derfor inviteres organisationerne bag de 13 projekter også til at indgå i et fælles kompetenceudviklingsforløb, som Realdania faciliterer i samarbejde med AlmenNet med henblik på, at den almene sektor lærer af hinandens bæredygtige projekter og strategier.

Læs ogsåKøbenhavns Kommune på vej mod den første emissionsfri byggeplads

COVID-19-hjælpepakke skal øge grønne ambitioner
I foråret 2020 søsatte den filantropiske forening Realdania en stor COVID-19-hjælpepakke, der blandt andet skal skubbe på en bæredygtig udvikling i byggeriet i kølvandet på coronakrisen. Det har givet en lang række kommunale og nu også almene renoveringsprojekter ekstra luft i budgettet til at øge de grønne ambitioner. Puljen har desuden støttet 31 bygherrer i afprøvningen af den frivillige bæredygtighedsklasse.

I første omgang skal de 13 almene boligorganisationer med deres konkrete renoveringsprojekter, eksempelvis Domeas Vindinggårdparken i Vejle og Vridsløselille Andelsboligforenings Gårdhavehusene i Albertslund, bruge det næste halve år på at indhente målrettet rådgivning. Rådgivning, der kan pege på, hvordan det er muligt at gøre renoveringsprojekterne mere klimamæssigt bæredygtige.

"Til sommer kan vi forhåbentlig kigge ned i 13 grundige analyser fyldt med inspiration og viden om, hvordan de almene boligorganisationer kan renovere klimamæssigt endnu klogere. Nogle løsninger kan igangsættes med det samme uden større omkostninger. Andre vil kræve ekstra midler at gennemføre," siger Nina Kovsted Helk.

De projekter, der har ekstra stor eksempelværdi for hele den almene sektor, men er så nytænkende, at det koster ekstra at gennemføre, får til sommer - også inden for rammerne af Realdanias COVID-19-hjælpepakke - mulighed for at søge om støtte til selve realiseringen.


As we observe the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement, we discuss private sector action in making the transition to a low-carbon economy.

December 12, 2020: this Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of the historic adoption of the Paris Agreement. The world’s nations reached consensus to take on the existential threat of climate change—to protect our planet, the natural resources upon which we depend, our health, and our communities. The monumental victory gave us hope. Unbeknownst at the time, five years later we are reflecting on the leadership of business, rather than government, in charting the way toward a net zero future.

The Paris Agreement set a long-term goal to limit the increase of global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. Through this agreement, countries agreed to peak global GHG emissions as soon as possible and then rapidly reduce them to reach net zero emissions in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity.

As part of BSR’s work with We Mean Business, we advocated for the adoption of the global net zero goal in the Paris Agreement. We sought an international agreement that would catalyze private sector action, making the transition to a low-carbon economy inevitable, irreversible, and irresistible.

Setting Paris-aligned emissions reduction goals—or science-based targets—has since become the gold standard for sustainable business. More and more companies have committed to goals representing their fair share of meeting the Paris Agreement. Their aggregate weight is now sufficient to dent the global emissions trajectory. For example, companies committed to the Science-Based Targets initiative now have aggregate annual operational emissions of 1.8 Gt/year—if they were a country, this would make them the world’s fourth largest emitter.

More recently, the private sector is stepping up its ambition to build net zero value chains no later than 2050, thus contributing to reaching the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal. Because collaboration is essential to achieving this, companies are increasingly working together—within and across industries—to scale their impact. One example is Transform to Net Zero, a cross-sector group of climate leaders with the vision of enabling an inclusive net zero economy no later than 2050..

The spike in business commitments to net zero targets is even more remarkable when considering the backdrop of regulatory weakness. However, 2020 is signaling an emergence of government leadership.

In September, the European Commission announced its plan to reduce EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, putting it on a path toward climate neutrality by 2050.

At this year’s UN General Assembly, China—the world’s largest emitter—pledged to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality before 2060. This commitment helps build desperately needed momentum to put the world on track to meet the Paris Agreement. However, with concerns about its current coal expansion, China’s forthcoming 14th five-year plan (2021-2025) will signal its first steps to reaching the 2060 goal.

Japan and South Korea recently also committed to carbon neutrality by 2050. Prime Minister Suga is focusing on green technologies as the driver of economic growth in Japan, the world’s fifth largest emitter. And the South Korean commitment followed the release of a Green New Deal, a national development strategy with an emphasis on expanding green jobs.  

In addition to these commitments from the EU and the three largest East Asian economies, a Biden Administration could put the Paris Agreement goals “within striking distance,” according to analysis from Climate Action Tracker. But the first challenges to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 are the near-term actions to cut carbon by 2030. Significant effort in this Decisive Decade is crucial to keep the world on track and avoid dangerous climate consequences.

As we reflect on the last five years and look ahead to the next five and beyond, we must remain laser-focused on results. National governments are now updating their pledges under the Paris Agreement, which will demonstrate how serious the public sector is in fulfilling their commitments. Business action can demonstrate that the net zero economy is not merely possible but plausible.

While ambitious climate policies are needed to catalyze business ambition, leading businesses will themselves continue to transition to a net zero, climate-resilient economy. We can no longer delay action, and we ought to seize the many opportunities before us to grow green jobs, improve air quality, deploy new products and services, and protect our communities.

Looking ahead to the Paris Agreement’s 10-year anniversary, BSR aims to make net zero corporate action so commonplace that there will be no doubt that we will make its vision a reality.

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Flere danske virksomheder har installeret det innovative vandsystem GROHE Blue som led i arbejdet med at reducere plastaffald og CO2-emissioner. Vandsystemet er netop også blevet valgt som en af finalisterne i kampen om den tyske Sustainabillity Award Design 2021 på grund af systemets bæredygtige design og funktioner.

I Danmark, hvor hver dansker i gennemsnit bruger hele 35 kg plast om året, bl.a. på grund af forbruget af plastikflasker, har flere virksomheder fået øjnene op for GROHE Blue’s bæredygtige egenskaber. GROHE Blue-vandsystemet giver kølet, filtreret og - hvis ønsket - kulsyreholdigt vand direkte fra hanen. Takket være et bæredygtigt og intelligent design reducerer systemet CO2-emissioner og vandforbrug og eliminerer samtidig forbruget af plast markant.

Det drejer sig bl.a. om entreprenørvirksomheden Adserballe & Knudsen, der har installeret GROHE Blue for at reducere forbruget af plast. Og det er lykkedes. Ane Vestbjerg, kommunikationschef hos Adserballe & Knudsen fortæller:

”Takket være GROHE Blue vandsystem, har vi sparet over 7.600 plastikflasker om året. Sammenholdt med transporten af flasker, har vi opnået en betydelig miljømæssig besparelse, og allerede efter første år, har de første to vandhaner tjent sig hjem. Og vores medarbejderne har taget godt imod systemet og hurtigt vænnet sig af med at tage vandflasker med i bilen. På grund af vandsystemets egenskaber og lave krav til vedligeholdelse er GROHE også et godt valg til vores projekter indenfor erhvervsbyggeri. Og brugen af GROHE Blue matcher fint Adserballe & Knudsens øvrige bæredygtighedsstrategi, hvor vi bl.a. arbejder med sociale indsatser, indretning af bæredygtige byggepladser og internationale partnerskaber.”

Arkitektvirksomhed udfaser plastikflasker
Også arkitektfirmaet Rander Arkitekten har installeret GROHE Blue som led i et målrettet bæredygtighedsarbejde, som bl.a. omfatter udgivelsen af en bog om bæredygtighed til kunderne. Desuden er virksomheden involveret i projekter om lokal afledning af regnvand og genbrug af plast.

”For at reducere affaldet generelt sender vi plast til genbrug, og for hver 4,5 kg får vi produceret en stol af det brugte plastik. Vi har samtidig et mål om at udfase plastikflasker og spare CO2. Derfor har vi installeret et GROHE Blue vandsystem, og vi sparer i dag 40 kg CO2 om året med det initiativ,” siger Brian Andersen, der er indehaver af Randers Arkitekten.

GROHE reducerer også selv forbruget af plast
Både Brian Andersen og Ane Vestbjerg understreger, at de også har valgt GROHE Blue på grund af GROHEs bæredygtige agenda, som bl.a. har betydet CO2 neutral produktion. Desuden lancerede GROHE i 2018 deres Less Plastic initiativ,med formålet at erstatte plastemballage med mere bæredygtige alternativer. Det har indtil nu betydet en reduktion på 20 mio. stykker emballage og i 2021 vil dette tal være steget til op mod 35 mio. stykker.

Den 4. december blev GROHE kåret som vinder af en af Europas vigtigste bæredygtighedspriser, German Sustainability Award 2021 i kategorien ”Ressources”. Samtidig er GROHE blevet udvalgt til en af verdens 50 pioner virksomheder i det globale bæredygtigheds- og klimabeskyttelsesinitiativ "50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders", der er baseret på FN's 17 bæredygtige udviklingsmål.

Siden 2008 er en af Europas mest prestigefylde bæredygtighedspriser, German Sustainabillity Award, blevet uddelt med støtte fra bl.a. den tyske regering og en række NGO’er som UNESCO og UNICEF. Prisen gives til byer, virksomheder og enkeltpersoner, der har bidraget positivt til det bæredygtige samfund, ogved årets prisuddeling den 4. december løb GROHE med en af de attraktive priser. Det var i kategorien ”Ressources”som en anerkendelse af virksomhedens målrettede arbejde med at reducere ressourceforbruget i hele værdikæden og for at tilbyde forbrugerne et bæredygtigt og vandbesparende produktsortiment.

Den fornemme bæredygtighedspris er endnu en milepæl i GROHEs bæredygtige agenda, som bl.a. har betydet CO2 neutral produktion og erstatning af plastemballage med mere bæredygtige alternativer. For at nå disse ambitiøse mål har GROHE bl.a. reduceret sine drivhusgasemissioner med godt 40 procent siden 2014 og samtidig øget energieffektiviteten med 24 procent. Resultaterne er bl.a. opnået ved konvertering til grøn elektricitet og investeringer i solteknologi, kombinerede varme- og kraftværker samt innovative ressourcebesparende produktionsprocesser. Arbejdet med at reducere plastforbruget har resulteret i besparelser på over 21 millioner stk. emballagematerialer fremstillet af plast.Og i 2021 forventes besparelserne at nå 31 millioner.

GROHE som global pionervirksomhed
Disse resultater er også baggrunden for, at GROHE er blevet udvalgt til en af verdens 50 pionervirksomheder i det globale bæredygtigheds- og klimabeskyttelsesinitiativ "50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders". GROHE og de 49 andre globale virksomheder bliver profileret i en række dokumentarfilm, der viser, hvordan erhvervslivet kan tage ansvar for klimaet.Som pionerer i deres respektive brancher demonstrerede de enkelte virksomheder, hvordan de aktivt engagerer sig i en bæredygtig fremtid, der er baseret på FN's 17 bæredygtige udviklingsmål, og inspirerer andre til at følge deres eksempel.

GROHE viser bl.a. i sin film, at bæredygtighed er en kontinuerlig rejse for virksomheden og præsenterer de innovative tilgange, der har gjort bæredygtighed til kernen i virksomhedens forretningsaktiviteter, herunder hvad arbejdet med bæredygtighed har betydet for den økonomiske udvikling.

Se mere om 50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders

Løven Ali er hovedpersonen i en ny illustreret børnebog skrevet af sanitetsleverandøren GROHE. Bogen skal lære børn, hvor vigtigt det er at vaske deres hænder og vigtigheden af at spare på vandet. Bogen sendes til børnehaver i hele Danmark.

For tredje år i træk har sanitetsproducenten GROHE skrevet en børnebog som en del af deres årlige community day. Bogen hedder ”Da løven Ali ikke ville vaske hænder” og er skabt i lyset af begivenhederne i 2020; den lægger vægt på, hvor vigtigt det er at vaske hænder, men uden at spilde unødige mængder vand. I år sendes bogen til børnehaver i hele landet, og en højtlæsning af bogen kan findes på Youtube, så børnene kan tage oplevelsen med hjem.

Med børnebøgerne om delfiner, oddere og løver har GROHE skabt et univers, hvor vand er omdrejningspunktet, hvad end det er tema om plastikaffald i havet eller om hvordan nogle mennesker skal gå langt for rent drikkevand. ”Med bøgerne vil vi gerne hjælpe med at hive aktuelle emner ned på et niveau, hvor børnene også kan være med. Det fantastiske ved at involvere børn, er at de tager alle indtryk ind og tænker meget over det, der bliver læst op,” fortæller Rikke Mohr, HR-leder i GROHE Nordics og forfatter til bøgerne.

Bøgerne er sendt til børnehaver i alle landsdele lige fra Sønderjylland til Fyn og Nordsjælland, og er indtil videre blevet taget rigtig godt i mod. ”Børnene er så glade for bøgerne og kan relatere til historien om løven Ali, når de selv skal vaske hænder. De går endda og minder hinanden om, at vi skal huske at spare på vandet. Så de har virkelig taget budskabet til sig," fortæller Mitra Overgaard der er pædagog hos Børnehuset Løvbakken i Aalborg.

Bogen er oversat til syv sprog og kan ses på video her.
Den første bog om delfinerne Gry & Gilbert kan læses her og den anden bog om odderne Ofelia & Oskar kan læses her.

Har man som børnehave interesse i bogen, kontakt da venligst Karoline Egelund, PR & Communications Assistant, på tlf. 30 37 53 60 eller e-mail

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