IHRB took part in a range of sessions at the 1st UN Asia Forum on Business & Human Rights in Doha, Qatar from 19-20 April 2016. This series offers a brief recap of two sessions IHRB moderated on mega-sporting events – one on MSEs and human rights in Asia and a second looking at FIFA, Qatar and human rights.
In January 2016, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) called for feedback on a Tokyo 2020 High-Level Sustainability Plan (Sustainability Plan) and Fundamental Principles for the Sustainable Sourcing Code (Sourcing Code).IHRB and the Caux Roundtable-Japan have jointly submitted comments and recommendations on both documents.
Organised by IHRB, Wilton Park and the Government of Switzerland, the Wilton Park conference on Human Rights and Mega-Sporting Events (MSEs) brought together international experts with a collective global reach to more than 100 sport federations, 155 national business federations, 180 million workers and 10,000 athletes.
IHRB convened a high-level panel of trade union, sports governing body, host city, civil society and event sponsor representatives at the 2015 UN Forum in Geneva on identifying solutions to key human rights challenges associated with MSEs.
The four international organisations issued a joint statement in advance of a two-day meeting organised by IHRB, the Government of Switzerland and Wilton Park. The joint statement highlights the pressing need for a more comprehensive approach to managing social risks and adverse human rights impacts arising from mega-sporting events and affirms the commitment of the four organisations to advancing dialogue and joint action with all actors in this area.
by Lucy Amis, IHRB Research Fellow. Mega-Sports Events (MSEs) and the sporting federations that organise them are once again under intense scrutiny. Switzerland’s OECD National Contact Point has just approved for further investigation a complaint lodged by the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) against FIFA.
October 13, 2015
Upcoming work: Wilton Park agenda announced, UN Annual Forum session, and other IHRB activities: Over the coming weeks, the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) is playing a key role in a series of efforts to bring together heads of federations and governing bodies, sponsor and service delivery companies, policy makers and other industry leaders to progress dialogue, engagement and practice around mega-sporting events and human rights.
Caux Round Table Japan and the Institute for Human Rights and Business have prepared a Draft Sustainable Sourcing Policy for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and welcome comments before submitting a final version to the Tokyo Organising Committee.
IHRB Executive Director John Morrison spoke today at the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct on the subject of responsibility in international sporting events and discussed IHRB's emerging work on mega-sporting events.
Caux Round Table Japan (CRT-Japan) and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) are working together to help galvanise respect for human rights as part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The two organisations are preparing a Human Rights Statement...
by Lucy Amis, IHRB Research Fellow
Colin Jackson is a champion athlete who has been an Olympic silver medalist for Britain, and has been the world champion in 110m hurdles thrice, and held the world record for the race for over a decade.
Hiroshi Ishida is the executive director at the Caux Round Table Japan, a non-for-profit think-tank and network that promotes social responsibility and sustainability among businesses.
February 20, 2015
Lucy Amis is a research fellow at the Institute for Human Rights and Business. She conducted a study in Brazil on the impact of the FIFA World Cup 2014™ on the population. This study was carried out together with 50 stakeholders from different sectors : civil society, academia, government, business.
In this video, Lucy presents the 6 main risk areas of the FIFA World Cup 2014™ on children:
1. Forced Evictions
2. The Right to Decent Work
3. The Child Rights
4. The Rights of migrant workers
5. The Right to protest
6. The Rights of stakeholders in the city
These risk areas were identified by Reporter Brasil, a Brazilian Think Tank commissioned by the Institute for Human Rights and Business.
by Lucy Amis, IHRB Research Fellow
by Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair of the OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct and a professor at the University of Amsterdam
by Lucy Amis, IHRB Research Fellow
In a letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, Mary Robinson and Prof. John Ruggie urge football’s governing body to fully integrate human rights considerations into its decision making.
by Salil Tripathi, IHRB Senior Advisor, Global Issues. Host nations and cities, sports organising bodies and companies must move faster, aim higher, and show stronger resolve.
The Scottish Human Rights Commission, Anti-Slavery International and IHRB jointly convened policy makers, business representatives and others to discuss and share information about human rights and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014.
This second in a series of occasional papers by IHRB focuses on the breadth of human rights opportunities and risks across the life-cycle of Mega Sporting Events. International sporting events capture global attention not only because of the excellence of the athletes who compete but also because of the intense competition among nations to host them.
The Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 presents a unique opportunity to examine the roles and responsibilities of business and government in ensuring respect for human rights, including preventing forced labour and trafficking as well as promoting a human rights culture in Scotland.
by Lucy Amis, IHRB Research Fellow
by Salil Tripathi, IHRB Senior Advisor, Global Issues
A version of this letter appeared in print on May 24, 2012, on page 67 of the London Evening Standard: Dear Editor, Your article (22 May) on the InterContinental Hotels Group's bold step in being the first major hotel chain in London to endorse a living wage points to an important and often under reported subject - the status of the many staff who work in the capital’s hotel industry.
by Salil Tripathi, IHRB Senior Advisor, Global Issues
Mega-Sporting Events (MSEs) offer a unique opportunity to spark human rights change for the better.
Governments that host MSEs have a duty to put in place safeguards to ensure that human rights are respected at every stage. Sports governing bodies, local organsiners, sponsors and companies also have a responsibility to the host communities and wider society to do all they can to uphold international human rights standards. All involved should ensure that their efforts advance, rather than undermine, the human rights of the workforce, of local residents and others affected by the staging of an MSE, so that these events become true festivals of sport and humanity.
This website is designed to capture and share human rights lessons from the Olympics, FIFA World Cups and other major sporting events to help raise the bar from one event to the next. The site is part of ongoing work by IHRB to highlight the range of human rights challenges associated with MSEs and point to emerging and creative solutions from around the world on how they can be addressed.
We welcome input from all interested users – including sports governing bodies, host governments and their departments, local organisers, sponsors, companies executing projects or providing goods and services, manufacturers of event merchandise, trade unions, civil society groups, and grassroots movements – to contribute to this website.
Your perspectives will enrich the information available and all voices are welcome. Keep visiting the site for new posts, relevant material and discussions, and join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
Watch for invited expert stakeholders and rights-holders who will be blogging on our site. This website will continue to grow as new concerns and new responses are brought to our attention. Expect to see new issues, new languages and new views to come on track in the months ahead.
Sports governing bodies like the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Commonwealth Games Federation and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) set the rules that all other actors are expected to follow when delivering an MSE, ranging from the criteria around transport, accommodation, and ticketing allocations, to the procedures for the opening and closing ceremonies. As such, these bodies are in a strong position to set requirements that advance respect for human rights and help reduce any adverse rights impacts associated with these events.
Both the IOC and FIFA have principles of human dignity, integrity and participation cemented within their respective constitutions – the Olympic Charter and FIFA Statutes, as do other sports governing bodies like the Commonwealth Games Federation. Each of these bodies in their different ways is also already working to embed integrity and sustainability safeguards - including some that are human rights-related – within their internal processes. Environmental protection for example is already well entrenched within the bid process to host the event, and within host city / country contracts / agreements of both the IOC and FIFA. Human and labour rights provisions however are not yet so well advanced as environmental protections, and there are opportunities to demonstrate greater leadership in this space.
Leadership from the sports governing bodies is not only about reforming governance documents, bid city requirements and host city contracts. It might, for example, also extend to guidelines for procurement and sourcing by MSE local organisers, and to strengthen non-discrimination principles such as developing initiatives to combat racism or homophobia, and efforts to promote gender equality in sports administration and participation.
High ideals are associated with the Olympics in the public imagination. The Olympic Charter (the Charter) is the Olympic Movement’s constitution. Revised periodically, it sets out basic rules, such as the formalities for opening and closing ceremonies, and contains the ideological core of the Olympic Movement referred to as the ‘Fundamental Principles of Olympism’ (Fundamental Principles). All members of the Olympic Movement agree to abide by the Charter. These include the International Olympic Committee (the IOC), the International Sports Federations (there are 25 such sports federations, including FIFA for football and the IAAF for athletics), the currently 204 National Olympic Committees (the national representative organisations that manage and promote sport year on year), the athletes and officials, as well as the Local Organising Committees - and by extension the host cities - responsible for delivering an Olympic Games.
Human rights-related principles are woven into the fabric of the Olympics. The Fundamental Principles proclaim that: ‘Olympism is a philosophy of life’, and encourage ‘social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles’, ‘the harmonious development of humankind’, and ‘the preservation of human dignity’. A 1996 revision added that: ‘The practice of sport is a human right,’ and called for every individual to ‘have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind’. The Fundamental Principles also encourage ‘the promotion of women in sport at all levels,’ and urge the Olympic Movement ‘to demonstrate a responsible concern for environmental issues’ and to act ‘to reflect such concern in its activities and educate all those connected with the Olympic Movement as to the importance of sustainable development.’
The IOC’s Code of Ethics is an integral part of the Olympic Charter. It comprises an array of rules on dignity, integrity, non-discrimination, confidentiality, against harassment, and on the conduct of candidate cities. Those covered by the rules include the Local Organising Committees entrusted with delivering the Games, as well as each of the International Sporting Federations. Each International Sports Federation, including FIFA, is expected to ‘adopt a code of ethics based on the principles and rules of the IOC Code of Ethics or adopt the IOC Code of Ethics in a written declaration.’ The policy against discrimination is clear-cut, stating that: ‘There shall be no discrimination between the participants on the basis of race, gender, ethnic origin, religion, philosophical or political opinion, marital status or other grounds.’ The Code of Ethics also spells out that ‘All forms of harassment of participants, be it physical, professional or sexual, and any physical or mental injuries to participants, are prohibited.’
The IOC has come under pressure from its corporate sponsors and campaign groups alike over its enforcement of the non-discrimination provisions, notably in relation the protection of LGBT rights ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, and women’s rights within a number of competing nations prior to the London 2012 Olympics.
The IOC’s Ethics Commission was created in the wake of the 1998 Salt Lake City corruption scandal surrounding that city’s bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The IOC Ethics Commission is made up of nine members, a majority of whom are not members of the Olympic Movement. It is responsible for drawing up and revising the IOC’s Code of Ethics and preventing breaches of the Code. It can also investigate any complaints, and if necessary propose sanctions, including the ultimate sanction of removing the right to host the Games from the host city, Local Organising Committee and National Olympic Committee.
Not all aspects of the Olympic Charter are progressive in human rights terms. The IOC’s efforts to ensure that the Olympic Games are not subverted for political ends, contained within Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, tread a fine line with regard to limiting respect for free speech. Rule 50 stipulates that: ‘No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas’ and that ‘any violation of the provisions …may result in disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned. The decisions of the IOC Executive Board regarding this matter shall be final’.
The constitution of FIFA is called the FIFA Statutes. Its provisions apply to FIFA’s 208 national Member Associations, as well as various FIFA bodies including the FIFA Executive Committee, Congress, and various standing and ad-hoc committees. Like its counterpart the Olympic Charter, FIFA’s Statutes are infused with human rights-related concepts. Its provisions include a commitment to ‘promote [football] globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values, particularly through youth and development programmes’. The provision on non-discrimination is comprehensive. It states that: “Discrimination of any kind against a Country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.” FIFA’s Our Commitment document also explicitly recognises that parts of the world are ‘still deprived of their basic rights' and highlights the need to use the power of football for ‘social and human development’ and as ‘a symbol of hope and integration’.
The provisions on non-discrimination and stance against racism raise a challenge for FIFA as it prepares to welcome Russia as host of the 2018 World Cup. Russia’s treatment of its LGBT community [will likely create a cross-reference to material under the Anti-discrimination Focus Area] and laws against the teaching of homosexual issues to minors prompted widespread controversy ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, with calls for the event to be boycotted. Concerns over Russia’s attitude to racism and racial chanting in football have also received media attention. For example in December 2012, the main supporters’ group of Russian champions, Zenit St Petersburg, lobbied against the club signing non-white or homosexual players.
In June 2011, FIFA’s Congress voted to strengthen the FIFA Ethics Committee, which is made up an investigative and adjudicatory chamber. It is able to decide the scope and duration of any sanction against those deemed to be in breach of the FIFA Statutes, FIFA Code of Ethics and the FIFA Disciplinary Code. Joint-head of the Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, is currently leading an investigation of alleged corruption scandals surrounding the bid and election process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.
The IOC and wider Olympic Movement have a number of existing initiatives and processes in place to address sustainability challenges, some of which also relate to human rights.
The IOC’s most recent bid stipulations for the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the 2020 Candidature Procedure and Questionnaire), for example require candidate cities to submit an initial environmental impact assessment, and to describe their stakeholder engagement plans on environmental issues (See Theme 5 – Environment.) Candidate cities are also required to give guarantees that all construction work necessary for the event will comply with relevant domestic environmental regulation and International agreements and protocols on planning, construction and environment protection. Those bidding are additionally expected to outline what criteria will be used to assess how potential suppliers are adhering to any specific, named, national or international standards, including on labour standards. Under provisions related to the Paralympic Games (See Theme 9 – Paralympic Games), candidate cities are further asked to offer guarantees that national and international accessibility standards will be fully integrated into the planning and construction phases of the event. The host city or government also has an opportunity to indicate any special features not covered by the sports governing body questionnaire that it believes to be relevant, thereby opening the door to innovation and leadership models. London’s candidature file for the XXXth Olympiad, for example, promised to set up the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, to monitor and assure the sustainability of its delivery bodies.
The IOC’s Sport and Environment Commission - which advises on environmental protection – has put in place the Olympic Movement’s Agenda 21: Sport for Sustainable Development in 1999. This arose out of a 1994 IOC-UNEP cooperation agreement to develop joint initiatives. Agenda 21 encompasses several human rights-related themes, like fighting social exclusion, health protection, and advancing the role of women, young people and indigenous peoples. Elsewhere, the IOC’s Teaching Values: An Olympic Education Toolkit designed to promote Olympic values among young people around the world, has a complete chapter on ‘Respect for others’. This includes a full-page introduction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a youth human rights role-play exercise.
In 2009 the IOC organised the XIII Olympic Congress, an exceptional meeting of the entire Olympic Family comprising media partners and corporate sponsors as well as the Olympic Movement, where it began a process of integrating Recommendation No. 30. According to the XIII Olympic Congress Follow-up Report (2011), Recommendation No. 30 explicitly addresses human dignity and human rights. Implementation notes spell out that:
a) The IOC will intervene at the OCOG [organising committee] level in the event of serious abuse, such as:
b) The IOC will establish a system for correctly identifying and dealing with ‘legitimate complaints’ from official sources;
c) The IOC will not intervene in non-sport human rights issues; and,
d) The leverage that the IOC has towards the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) should be determined. This might lead to amendments to the Host City Contract and documentation for Bid Cities.”
In 2013, human rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch, in its report Race to the Bottom: Exploitation of Migrant Workers Ahead of Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympics, noted that the IOC had recently raised concerns over migrant worker exploitation in the run up the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics with the Sochi Organising Committee, and had sought responses from the Organising Committee and Olympstroy (the state-run delivery company) in relation to a number of complaints.
Plans for a new strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, known as Olympic Agenda 2020, were unveiled during the IOC Session convened in Sochi in February 2014. The proposals focus around three themes of sustainability, credibility and youth. The initiative is the brainchild of new IOC President Thomas Bach, and a year -long process of outreach and dialogue is currently underway with the National Olympic Committees and wider stakeholders. Plans under the heading of sustainability include replacing the IOC’s Sport and Environment Commission with a new Commission for Sustainability, which it is hoped will continually explore opportunities for sustainability management and for greater financial transparency. Additional suggestions include encouraging bid and host cities to maximise the use of existing or temporary venues, and proposals to encourage greater gender equality within the Olympic Movement. The process will culminate in Monaco in December 2014 when proposals for Olympic Agenda 2020 will be presented for approval to an IOC Extraordinary Session.
In its most recent Bidding Agreement for the right to host and stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, FIFA asked bidding countries for a number of sustainability-related commitments. They are required to submit ‘a comprehensive assessment of the environmental and climatic impacts of staging the Competition,’ an Environmental Protection plan, and among other step an “outreach programme to consult and include all interested groups and concerned stakeholders in the Environmental Protection Plan, including the federal, state and municipal governments, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations and others”.
On the social aspects of sustainability, FIFA asks prospective host candidates to give a general explanation of how their bid can contribute to ‘sustainable social and human development’ and ‘complement FIFA CSR Activities’, and calls upon host applicants to “describe in concrete terms, how it intends to use [the potential of the World Cup to unite players, officials and fans of all ethnic backgrounds, religions, social classes and cultures] to break down social barriers, promote tolerance, equality and social integration, and encourage social harmony”, and how the bid will among other things improve sports participation and health standards, and the development of football “outside the elite men’s game (e.g. women’s, youth, grassroots and disabled football”.
FIFA has published its 2018 FIFA World Cup Bid Evaluation Report: Russia and 2022 FIFA World Cup Bid Evaluation Report: Qatar. Both reports assessed the bids commitments on social and environmental matters. Comments on Qatar’s bid among other things highlight that: “The significant construction work involved merits consideration, especially in terms of stadium readiness, testing under conditions comparable to the FIFA World Cup and the deployment of climate-control measures” but make no mention of assessing the labour standards in place to safeguard workers’ well-being. It is worth noting that the Brazil Bid Inspection Report for the 2014 FIFA World Cup (2007) contained no evaluation of, or reference to, any social or environmental commitments. Yet in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy – Concept jointly issued by FIFA and the Brazilian organisers, version 2 of which was published in May 2012), they announce unambiguous and explicit commitments around human rights (including on labour rights and human trafficking). The strategy is built around social responsibility standard ISO 26000, and as such is aligned with the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights on the need for corporate human rights due diligence and the resolution of grievances.
More broadly, FIFA has entered into strategic alliances with several UN bodies that have human rights responsibilities and remits, including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). There are also indications, following the deaths of at least 44 Nepali migrant workers on construction sites in Qatar during the summer of 2013, that FIFA may be considering giving human rights greater prominence in the way it does business. In November 2011, FIFA publicly committed to supporting workers’ rights, including those of migrant workers, ahead of Qatar 2022; and has pledged to work with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to “add labour-related criteria to the bidding process for future FIFA World Cups.” In evidence to the European Parliament in February 2014 over the welfare of Nepali and other migrant workers on construction projects in Qatar, Dr. Theo Zwanziger, a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee, also publicly indicated that FIFA was looking at the need to rethink the bidding process, and the possibility of giving “human rights a much higher status”.
In 2003 the IOC identified the need to add the promotion of “positive legacy” to the Olympic Charter. The IOC recognised that the complexities and impacts of staging an MSE upon a host city warranted a greater transfer of knowledge to help bid cities and future organising committees to hit the ground running. Although the Olympic Movement did not have much sustainability-related knowledge to transfer to London when it won the bid for the 2012 Olympics in 2005, the IOC has since established an Olympic Games Knowledge Management Programme, through which it collects and transfers lessons and best practices for future host cities, alongside a programme of Olympic Games Impact (OGI) studies. Since 2003, the IOC has asked all Local Organising Committees to conduct the OGI study. These encompass economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts, and cover a span of 12-years, starting two years prior to the host city’s election. At the present time, Local Organising Committees from London 2012, Sochi 2014, Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, and Tokyo are participating in the process. The IOC’s legacy systems are still relatively new. But they have the potential to help perpetuate new human rights good practice and risk management strategies the planning and delivery of an Olympics, and to be a model for other MSEs.
FIFA set up an Anti-Racism and Discrimination Taskforce in 2013 to address acts of racism and discrimination in football. This followed a series of race-related incidents on and off the pitch. The Taskforce is made up of representatives from the different stakeholders of the football community, and regularly invites players - like Kevin-Prince Boateng (who led team-mates off the field in protest over racist chants from fans during an AC Milan match in January 2013), and expert advisers to participate – such as a representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human, Yury Boychenko (Chief of the Anti-Discrimination Section), Tokyo Sexwale (South African businessman and politician who was formerly an anti-apartheid activist), and Hilary O. Shelton (Director, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Washington Bureau).
The Taskforce first met in May 2013, and later that month FIFA’s Congress overwhelming approved a landmark FIFA resolution on the fight against racism and discrimination. This resolution included proposals for tough new sanctions to combat high profile displays of racism in football. Among other things it addressed:
At subsequent sessions, the Taskforce has analysed prevention and education measures to further enhance the fight against discrimination, as well as the enforcement of sanctions to punish offences. Key priorities include:
FIFA is prepared to set mandatory labour rights standards for companies with whom it does business. The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) introduced the WFSGI Pledge for the FIFA Quality Programme for football manufacturers in 1997. The scheme requires FIFA licensed brands to sign a pledge together with their suppliers, which has to be renewed yearly, confirming they are in compliance with the WFSGI Code of Conduct. When it began the process was designed to combat child labour in Pakistan and India, but the WFSGI Code was updated in 2010, and now covers the core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which set standards on child labour, forced labour, non-discrimination and freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.
FIFA licensees have to provide the WFSGI with an annual audit demonstrating their suppliers’ full compliance with the Code. Significantly, the WFSGI Pledge is mandatory for the production of FIFA licensed footballs, meaning that the Pledge has to be confirmed before licensees can proceed to the technical test phase for producing footballs to the correct specification.
In our occasional paper, Striving for Excellence – Mega Sporting Events and Human Rights, we published a series of recommendations for Sports Governing Bodies and other key stakeholders involved in preparing and staging a Mega Sports Event. These recommendations are intended to support efforts by Sports Governing Bodies to ensure that human rights are more central to the way they do business in the years ahead.
 The UN Environment Programme has collaborated with the various OCOGs, including Athens (2004), Torino (2006), Beijing (2008), Vancouver (2010), London (2012), Sochi (2014) and has recently has been invited by the Rio de Janeiro organisers to assist in its preparations for Rio 2016.
 A goal of OM Agenda 21 includes: “to declare its endorsement of the United Nations Convention (Resolution 44/25) on children’s rights”.
 FIFA Partners and Supporters - http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/socialresponsibility/fifapartners/index.html
 See for further information: Building a Better World Cup Protecting Migrant Workers in Qatar Ahead of FIFA 2022, ©Human Rights Watch 2012.
 Information based on direct correspondence with the WFSGI. See also http://www.wfsgi.org/committees/csr-committee/wfsgi-pledge-for-fifa
 The California Transparency in Supply Chain Act for example requires retail sellers and manufacturers doing business in the state to disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their direct supply chains for tangible goods offered for sale.
 The mandatory requirements outlined in the WFSGI Pledge for the FIFA Quality Programme outlined above could serve as a model.
Coming Soon / Em Breve
A mega-sporting event often is too complex to have one single local organiser. For most recent Olympics there have been at least two entities - an event organising body and a separate delivery authority responsible for physical construction of venues and infrastructure. These two bodies often work in parallel, but each has responsibility for establishing sustainability standards, including human rights and workplace issues.
An embryonic bid committee exists even during the bid to host the MSE. During this stage the committee tends to be made up of various representatives from government and the relevant sporting bodies, such as the National Olympic Committee or the country’s Football Association.
In the months immediately after a successful bid, the host government is required - under the terms of a host city agreement / contract with the sport governing - to set up a local organising committee as a legal entity. In the case of the Olympics, the IOC insists on prior written approval to the constituting documentation. The IOC also spells out that the board of directors and executive committee of the new body must include the IOC member(s) in the host country, representatives of the National Olympic Committee, an Olympic athlete and “at least one member representing, and designated by, the City.”
Each host city or country sets up its local organising committee a little differently. For example, the Sydney Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (SOCOG) was a corporation set up by the State Government of New South Wales. The London Organising Committee of the Olympics Games (LOCOG) was established as a private limited company. By contrast, the Vancouver’s Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee were set up as non-profit organisations, with the Sochi Organising Committee similarly referred to as an “autonomous non-commercial organisation.”
In most cases, but not all, these local organising committees are event organisers. Not unlike theatrical producers, they are responsible for venue and competition management, sponsorship, ticket sales, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, volunteer programmes, and security within the venues. In addition to sponsorship and broadcast rights revenue channelled through the sports governing body, the revenue they raise comes from ticket sales and the rights they sell, including sponsorship of the event, licensing agreements for the merchandise, and broadcast rights. LOCOG, for example, had a £2 billion budget, almost all of which had to be raised from the private sector.
The development and building of venues and infrastructure, and any preparations for their post-event use, is handled separately. Usually a publicly funded and publicly accountable delivery authority does this. In the case of the Sydney 2000 Olympics these tasks fell to the Olympic Coordination Authority, a statutory authority of the NSW government responsible for physical preparation. In London, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) was responsible for developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for the Games and their use post-2012. The ODA, for instance, was funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (a UK government department), the Greater London Authority, the London Development Agency, and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. Brazil’s equivalent is the Authoridade Publico Olympico (APO – or Olympic Public Authority), with Olympstroy (more fully know as the State Corporation for Construction of Olympic Venues and Development of Sochi as an Alpine Climatic Resort) assuming responsibility for the design, construction and renovation of venues for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The host government and the relevant sports governing body both take an active role in overseeing the work of the event organiser and the delivery authority. In the UK, the entire delivery of the London 2012 Olympics was monitored by an Olympic Board, which comprised the Culture Secretary, the Mayor of London, the chairs of the British Olympic Association and London 2012 Organising Committee and other observers.
The Vancouver Organising Committee’s (VANOC) six corporate sustainability performance objectives included an explicit commitment “to care for our workforce, protect human rights and ensure health and safety.” VANOC’s procurement and licensing activities included a ‘Buy Smart’ programme, by which it put in place a set of procedures and activities designed to ensure that sustainability, ethical considerations and Aboriginal participation were taken into consideration.
VANOC supplemented these efforts by introducing a Licensee Code of Conduct, modelled on sponsor Hudson Bay Company’s code and other industry best practice. The VANOC Code of Conduct defined criteria for producing official merchandise. In response to stakeholder input, VANOC also introduced a Supplier Code of Conduct (2009) which regular suppliers were expected to review as part of the bidding and contracting process. VANOC had limited resources for follow-up, on-the-ground monitoring and capacity building of its supply chain, but reported that between 2006-2010, 100% of its suppliers met Canadian human rights standards. Both codes were shared with the IOC and future Olympic hosts as part of the IOC’s knowledge transfer process.
The workforce on the London Olympic Park and Athletes’ Village sites peaked at 13,000, with around 40,000 people having worked on the project by the time it was completed. During its lifespan, the ODA set a new bar by completing construction of the Olympic Park and Village with no fatalities. This Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 viewed this as an Olympic first. The Commission also found that the ODA’s accident frequency rate of 0.16, although above the target set of 0.1, was nonetheless significantly below the construction industry’s health and safety performance average of 1.0 and surpassed the national average for all workplaces.
The ODA complied with relevant UK and European regulation and standards. Success however was also achieved through a putting a range of standards, management systems and processes in place. The ODA’s Design and Construction Health, Safety and Environment (HS&E) Standard outlined the HS&E expectations and requirements for all staff, accountable directors, stakeholders and suppliers. This included performance targets, such as completing the Games’ construction without any fatalities. The ODA also integrated health and safety requirements in the tendering process for all contractors. On-site occupational health service teams were put in place. For the first time on a construction project of this size in the UK, these included both clinical and preventative teams working side by side to protect worker health. Principles of Cooperation agreed in 2008 between Trades Union Congress (TUC), ODA and LOCOG, additionally included health and safety provisions. In the view of the TUC, on-site union health and safety representation, and health and safety training also contributed to the good practice ODA achieved.
In its final recommendations, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 urged the ODA to continue “to work with the Health and Safety Executive [an independent UK watchdog] to develop a programme to disseminate the learning on health and safety and worker wellbeing from the construction phase of the Games”. The Commission also called on the UK Government “to make this a requirement of all publicly funded projects” in order to help promote good practice and effective management of risk across UK industry.
The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) - the London 2012 event organising body - put in place a Sustainable Sourcing Code to help address the ethical procurement challenges linked to Games merchandise. This covered all contracts with suppliers and licensees, and was updated periodically to allow for the continuous integration of new learning. LOCOG also required its licensees, major direct suppliers and sponsors to register themselves and their production sites as a member of the Sedex ethical database (this did not apply to IOC Worldwide Olympic Partners and approved suppliers of the International Sports Federations, with whom LOCOG had not direct contract).
There has been some criticism of LOCOG for being slow to act on labour issues. An independent assessment of LOCOG’s labour risk management systems, found that its Sustainability Team was “largely unprepared for the more complex task of implementing the labour (versus environmental) provisions of the Code”, but commended LOCOG’s willingness to engage with stakeholders.” For example, LOCOG incorporated the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code into its Sourcing Code on advice from the ETI, Playfair, and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). This integration of the ETI Base Code has since been replicated by both the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee via its Procurement Sustainability Policy, and the Rio 2016 Committee’s Sustainable Supply Chain Guide.
Factory disclosure – which potentially increases accountability - was not included as a contractual requirement for suppliers. However, some companies voluntarily revealed details of their supply chains. Adidas committed to disclose its London Olympic suppliers in 2011 having done so previously at the 2010 South Africa World Cup. In February 2012, LOCOG and the TUC signed an agreement providing for production site disclosure. This saw LOCOG agree to urge further voluntary factory disclosure. Eventually, ten licensees (representing 72% of licensed products being produced for London 2012).
The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 observed that LOCOG should have made requests for full factory disclosure sooner. On the same note, the independent assessor, Verité, recommended that: “Future time-bound organisations should anticipate [resistance from commercial partners to disclose this data] and build longer lead times and firmer requirements for transparency into their approvals process.” Among other things this would allow more time for training suppliers, and to familiarise SMEs with labour codes of conduct.
The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), London 2012’s event organiser, put in place a Complaint and Dispute Resolution Mechanism to deal with breaches of LOGOG’s Sustainable Sourcing Code and provide potential victims with access to remedy. The Mechanism’s design was based on criteria set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It was also backed up by a panel of expert stakeholders, the Oversight Group, who helped to ensure that the mechanism was accessible to, and served, those in need.
Viewed as groundbreaking by the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, the Complaint and Dispute Resolution Mechanism encountered some challenges over training and alerting factory workers in time to the mechanism’s existence. It also suffered from not being fully operational until April 2012. But after the Olympics, LOCOG made public many findings of how the Mechanism performed in practice. Several stakeholders close to the London Olympics, including civil society representatives, have commended LOCOG on the levels of public disclosure in relation to how the mechanism functioned in practice.
A parallel games-time grievance resolution protocol was developed with the TUC and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). This was intended for LOCOG’s UK-based workforce, including its contractors, and to help ensure that grievances arising during the Games were dealt with quickly, fairly, consistently and informally where that was possible.
In December 2013 the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee became the first MSE organiser to publish a human rights position statement. The Approach to Human Rights features an explicit commitment to respect human rights. It states that: “The Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee (OC) has an obligation – both moral and legal, and with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in mind – to respect, support and promote these rights through the course of its normal business.”
The Glasgow 2014 Approach to Human Rights reiterates a number of commitments made by the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee in its Procurement Sustainability Policy. Among other things this requires suppliers, and sponsors who provide goods or services, to adhere to ILO Fundamental Conventions. The Policy also spells out that “where [we procure goods and services from outside the UK] we require our suppliers to adhere to the terms of the Ethical Trading Initiative’s Base Code and, if relevant, the Code of Conduct of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry as a minimum.” The Policy also says that the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee will pay a Living Wage and promote it through its supply chain.
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee signalled this body’s commitment to human rights at a conference on Responsibility and Rights: The Glasgow Commonwealth Games Upholding Human Rights, Preventing Forced Labour and Trafficking in October 2013. The event was jointly convened by IHRB, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and Anti-Slavery International. Read his presentation here.
Following the staging of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee released its Post-Games Update. This provides a progress report on what was achieved against the benchmark offered by the Approach to Human Rights.
The Post-Games Update is the first example of explicit human rights reporting by an MSE organiser. In the Update the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee among other things outlined how it managed its supplier contracts and monitored compliance with the Procurement Sustainability Policy, as well as how it went about fulfilling its commitment to safeguarding the welfare of children and adults at risk of harm.
The report includes data on the percentage of principal suppliers who reported that they had adhered to the ETI Base Code, and paid a Living Wage. In line with its commitment to disclosure, the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee additionally noted that it published the names and locations of all suppliers within its Licensing and Merchandising programme on the Glasgow 2014 website. Factory disclosure of this kind had been a final recommendation of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 when it published its closing report Making a Difference (2013).
In a section on lessons learned, the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee emphasised the benefits of making an early human rights commitment, and the importance of direct engagement with human rights experts.
The Rio 2016 Organising Committee published the first version of its Sustainable Supply Chain Guide (the Guide) in July 2012. Commentators familiar with London 2012 have indicated that the Rio 2016 Committee has set a clear, positive agenda and lessons from the London experience have been learned. Like LOCOG, the Rio 2016 Committee opened its door to dialogue with stakeholders from an early stage, and appears to have taken on board the suggestions that LOCOG got off to a slow start. The Rio 2016 Committee, for example, has integrated labour rights criteria into its supplier requirements from the beginning. The Guide demands that suppliers, sponsor and licensees ensure that the working conditions on manufacturing production sites “meet the minimum requirements set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code.” The Guide also makes it clear that it regards compliance with the ETI Base Code as a minimum standard. It urges Rio 2016 commercial partners to exceed this standard, and where national laws and the Base Code cover the same ground, to apply whichever of the two affords the greater rights protection.
The Rio 2016 organisers also appear to have acted to avert the criticisms levelled at LOCOG in relation to factory disclosure. Rio 2016’s Guide specifies: “Where requested, suppliers, sponsors and licensees must disclose all information to Rio 2016 its representatives or auditors about the adopted venues or working conditions, and to grant access to their premises in the most transparent manner.” The Rio 2016 Sustainable Supply Chain Guide also includes a “Diversity Manifesto”, and commitment to encouraging practices that expand the participation of micro and SMEs “from a wide range of segments and social groups” in its Supply Chain. This also expands on a concern raised during London 2012 that not enough emphasis was placed on using local suppliers. The Rio 2016 Committee is currently putting in place a dispute mechanism process for Chinese and Brazilian suppliers.
The Rio 2016 Committee is working closely with industry federations, chambers of commerce, and various bodies like WBCSD and SEBRAE, to advance sustainable procurement within Brazil for the long-term. For example, it has entered into a strategic partnership with leading responsible supply chain specialist Sedex to support its responsible sourcing strategy. Under the agreement, Rio 2016 suppliers gain access to the Sedex database. Suppliers that Rio 2016 regards as critical are also required to enrol in Sedex, and will be monitored via the platform in relation to their supply chain standards management.
Since neither the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, nor the Public Olympic Authority (APO), is subject to independent assurance by a body like the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, stakeholders will need to look to civil society, unions and others to monitor the effectiveness of the procurement strategy.
In February 2014, Qatar's Supreme Committee (the local organising committee for the 2022 FIFA World Cup) published a set of Workers’ Welfare Standards. This followed an ultimatum from FIFA for Qatar to deliver a report on improving migrant labourer’s working conditions. The 50-page document sets out detailed standards giving the Qatar Supreme Committee the authority to penalise, and potentially terminate the contracts of contractors who violate the welfare of its construction workers. The standards set out detailed requirements on the payment of wages, accommodation, and welfare, and commit to introducing a tough new inspection regime. Under the standards, employers will also be forced to install a telephone hotline for workers to raise grievances and report concerns, ensure workers receive paid annual leave, and do not have to worker longer than a 48-hour week, and receive rest days.
Critics however point out that the standards only apply to the construction of World Cup stadiums, and not to the wider issue of holding to account contractors and subcontractors working on the wider infrastructure projects that will underpin the World Cup, which may require a more systemic approach – working with the Qatar authorities - to resolve. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "It promises employment standards but gives migrant workers no rights to collectively bargain or join a trade union”.
An ILO press release noted that “some of the ILO comments [on an earlier draft] have been taken into account, for example in respect of prohibition of retention of workers’ passports by employers, prohibition of the collection of deposits from workers, the protection of wage payments and some aspects related to working time…”. However, it also made clear that “other ILO comments, in particular concerning fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association and collective bargaining, as well as the adoption of a minimum wage or a living wage, are not reflected in the current text.” Qatar has ratified five of the eight ILO Fundamental Conventions; it has not ratified those on Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining, and Equal Remuneration.
In evidence before a European Parliamentary Committee hearing on sports and human rights, ILO Deputy Director-General Gilbert Houngbo, acknowledged that whilst the Workers’ Welfare Standard demonstrated some willingness to address the key issues at stake, the ILO still had two key concerns. Houngbo argued that the ILO insists, firstly, upon an integrated approach if the Standards are to be effective. “For instance, proposals by the Supreme Committee regarding the withholding of passports and the repatriation will not be effective unless the Government translates those into national legislation and puts in place national mechanisms to enforce the law.” Houngbo also stressed the importance of allowing workers a voice without fear of retaliation. He noted that “if workers do not have a way of expressing problems without fear, those measures [on ethical recruitment or health and security] will not be effective.” He did however signal that: "with a clear commitment of the Qatari authorities, the ILO stands ready to work with all relevant stakeholders to overcome current challenges that can lead to success."
In our occasional paper: Striving for Excellence – Mega Sporting Events and Human Rights, we published a series of recommendations for local organisers and other key stakeholders involved in preparing and staging a Mega Sports Event. These recommendations are intended to support efforts by local organisers to ensure that human rights are more central to the way they do business in the years ahead.
The role of business in the preparation and staging of Mega-Sporting Events (MSEs) is indispensible. Companies are involved at virtually every step of the process: from sponsoring and providing financial services, to designing venues, developing the land, constructing the stadiums and supporting infrastructure, and supplying construction raw materials; as well as in the sourcing and manufacturing sports equipment, merchandise and medals; production and preparation of food and beverages; and in managing and servicing the hotels and restaurants used by participants, officials, and spectators; broadcasting of the event to worldwide audiences; offering logistical and technical support; and in, some contexts, providing security.
In every case, whether the company is providing sponsorship, goods or professional services, businesses involved in MSEs are expected to respect human rights as they go about carrying out their operations and activities. This responsibility to respect human rights is increasingly well understood, and is elaborated in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and other international standards including the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises, the ISO 26000 Guidelines, and IFC Performance Standards, as well as national regulation in a number of countries around the world.
The corporate responsibility to respect human rights means that business enterprises should carry out due diligence to avoid causing or contributing to abuses of people’s rights. In practice, companies with links to MSEs need to identify, prevent and mitigate risks to the rights of workers and others potentially adversely affected by their commercial activities. People commonly at risk of human rights abuses in the context of MSEs include residents and small scale – often family-run – businesses which live on, or operate on land required for redevelopment; people living next to construction sites for stadiums and related infrastructure; people working directly for the company (including migrant workers who may be recruited through agencies and other third-parties); and further down the supply chain, workers and people potentially impacted by the company’s activities. Human rights risks exist in both developed and less developed economies, but may be especially pronounced in contexts where abuses such as child labour, forced labour or human trafficking are evident.
In our occasional paper: Striving for Excellence – Mega Sporting Events and Human Rights, IHRB published a series of recommendations for global sponsors and partners involved in preparing and staging a Mega Sports Event, as well as other key stakeholders. These recommendations are intended to support efforts by sponsors and other MSE partners to ensure that human rights considerations are taken into account.