NomoGaia is dedicated to making human rights a core component of global business. Supporting the UN Guiding Principles, we have generated field-based processes of “human rights due diligence” to ensure that companies’ human rights policies, practices, performance and project designs respect human rights. NomoGaia’s corporate HRIA methodology has been tested and fine-tuned on projects across industries on four continents.
A natural component of due diligence is monitoring, which NomoGaia pursues on the projects we assess. Monitoring helps companies track their improvements, identify shifting risks and address grievances.
Assessment is forward-thinking, monitoring is real-time analysis. To help companies understand human rights from every perspective, NomoGaia also believes that companies will benefit from backwards-looking analyses of human rights challenges they’ve faced. We see this as an important way to understand where, in the decision-making process, human rights should be taken into account, as well as how grievance mechanisms and community development plans should be molded around rights.
Our name comprises two seemingly contrasting concepts in ancient Greek mythology. Nomos personifies the stabilizing forces of society: law, order, custom and norms. Without it, chaos prevails. Chaos, meanwhile, spawned Gaia. Gaia created the sky, ocean, weather, and, directly or indirectly, most of earth’s creatures. The combination of Gaia and Nomos–feminine and masculine, natural flow and enforced structure–presents an encompassing notion of how globalization could benefit the earth, systems, and its inhabitants.
NomoGaia was incorporated in February of 2008, as corporate social responsibility was beginning to include considerations of human rights. Corporations willingly joining human rights initiatives, and industry associations adopted human rights standards. The new responsibilities became the subject of innumerable discussions, but transparency in implementation was lacking. NomoGaia was positioned to change that.
Capitalizing on our broad mandate, NomoGaia researched corporate scandals and public protests. We examined legal, extra-legal, and voluntary mechanisms for human rights protection. We spent months in the field, meeting the people most impacted by corporations and turned to the concrete experiences corporations were having on the ground to define the terms and boundaries of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and human rights.
Experience revealed that collaborative approaches and exhaustive research can only beget rights protections when paired with concrete assessment processes. We have made it our work to develop such tools and communicate them to companies, governments and rightsholders.
- The Human Rights movement has benefited people, governments and other organs of society.
- Corporations’ influence and power make them Human Rights actors. Large, transnational corporations are particularly important Human Rights actors.
- Corporations which strive to be socially responsible can benefit from the learnings of the Human Rights movement.
- Every corporation should publicly state what it considers to be its Human Rights duties.
- Corporations should investigate and determine the positive and negative effects their current and future actions have on Human Rights. This work should be performed by independent professionals having expertise in Human Rights with neither an anti-business nor a pro-business bias. The investigation and determination of Human Rights effects should use objective data and methods to the extent the specific area being considered reasonably permits. In this process, the people potentially affected by corporate action must be engaged directly.
- With Human Rights, transparency is a high-order value. Transparency allows development of a common understanding and a shared critique of concepts and actions. Corporations should publicly report their positive and negative effects on Human Rights.
- Corporations which transparently respect human rights will reduce the cost, and increase the effectiveness, of their social license; improve their standing with local communities and civil society; justifiably improve their reputation; and be more attractive to lenders, investors, employees and customers.
- Corporations which do not transparently respect human rights will be at risk of direct action by rightsholders, stockholders, advocacy groups, as well as local, regional and national governments. These actions can impede the corporation’s operations, increase its costs, limit its sources of finance and justifiably damage its reputation.
- Rightsholders should have a remedy to protect their human rights from being violated by a government, a group, an individual or a corporation. Every corporation should have systems in which an aggrieved rightsholder can report a human rights grievance, be engaged by the corporation, and participate in a process either to resolve the grievance jointly or refer it to a third party neutral with the ability to cause the corporation to act. Unless there is a compelling need to protect the identity of the rightsholder in a particular case, each step of this process should be transparent.
Kendyl Salcito developed her expertise in human rights and business as a foreign reporter in Southeast Asia and North America. She has advised industry groups on corporate human rights performance and contributed to the development of the UN’s Guidance Principles for Human Rights and Business. Outside of NomoGaia, she writes research notes for CO2 Scorecardand conducts corporate HRIAs for environmental consulting firm NewFields. She holds a PhD from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Epidemiology, an MA in Journalism from the University of British Columbia and a BA in History from Princeton University.
Mark Wielga is a Director of Nomogaia, a non-profit think-tank devoted business and human rights. He has over twenty years direct experience with human rights in action. He has managed and performed human rights impact assessments on large footprint corporate projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has worked with transnational corporations to design and implement corporate human rights policies as well as emergency responses to urgent human rights controversies. He has taught, lectured and published on human rights and corporate social responsibility in universities and institutions around the world. Mr. Wielga is a lawyer licensed in the United States and his extensive international legal experience informs his human rights work.
Elizabeth Wise has been publicly advocating for human rights protection for nearly two decades, both as a journalist and as a public relations consultant. Writing for the Economist, Financial Times, AP and Reuters, human rights were central in her work in conflict zones. Wise has tackled such critical issues as the Rwanda genocide, the creation of the WTO, and peace talks in the Sudan. Since 2004, she has been working with multinational corporations to examine their workplace and community policies for responsible solutions to complex social issues. She has lived and worked in Europe, Africa and the U.S. and speaks fluent French and Italian.
Wesley Fry developed a passion for human rights during his undergraduate studies at Shenandoah University. This led him to the University of Denver where he earned a MA in International Human Rights from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a JD with an emphasis in international law from the Sturm College of Law. While earning his graduate degrees he examined human rights as an intern with NomoGaia and the ABA Center for Human Rights, as editor in chief of the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, and as a member of the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Team.
NomoGaia is a federally registered nonprofit organization based in Denver, Colorado. Our Annual Reports provide information about operations on a yearly basis. These reports are supplemented with IRS Form 990 filings associated with our 501(c)3 nonprofit status (EIN is 33-1203791).