Photo by Jonathan Drake, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) taken at the Science and Human Rights Coalition Meeting 2015. 

Photo by Jonathan Drake, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) taken at the Science and Human Rights Coalition Meeting 2015. 

stephen Winstanley

Director & Principal Advisor

Specialist in strategy, policy, and practice for business & human rights, responsible investment, and corporate responsibility.

I am passionate about translating international corporate responsibility frameworks into practices that companies and investors can implement efficiently. I believe that responsible business practices can yield more sustainable, innovative, and profitable companies. I also believe that investors can benefit from higher rates of return on investment by incorporating more rigorous analysis of companies' responsible business practices - beyond the basic "ESG" analysis - into their investment strategy, decision-making, and stewardship engagements. My mission is to work with leading companies and investors to develop innovative solutions for integrating responsible business into core practices tailored for their specific context and aligned with widely accepted national and international standards. 

My experience as a business and human rights lawyer for almost ten years has focused on the implementation of international human rights frameworks for business and investors. I have worked closely with corporate executives, general counsels, law firms, civil society advocates, government policy advisors, academic researcher-practitioners, and voluntary initiative secretariats. I have consulted on issues related to the design and implementation of:

  • Supply chain tracing, auditing, and verification frameworks;
  • Human rights standards in supply chains for agricultural, manufacturing, and natural resource extraction sectors;
  • Grievance mechanisms in voluntary certification initiatives;
  • Governance and implementation processes for multi-stakeholder collaborative partnerships;
  • Standards for corporate reporting of human rights risks and impacts identified through human rights due diligence;
  • Initiatives to measure corporate implementation of the responsibility to respect human rights; and more.

As an active participant in leadership networks for corporate responsibility professionals, I have built a diverse global network of expert colleagues. Currently, I serve as an Associate to the Business and Human Rights Project Advisory Board at the American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights, as a manager of the Lawyers in Business & Human Rights LinkedIn Group, and a member of the ABA Section for International Law committee on Corporate Social Responsibility. 

As a researcher and author, my work has been published in multiple reports and blog articles from the LSE Measuring Business & Human Rights blog to the Huffington Post. I have authored a report on the disclosure of material human rights risks in annual corporate reporting under U.S. securities regulations, and co-authored a report analysing the implementation of multi-stakeholder governance in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).  

As a public speaker, I have been invited to present on several expert panels about human rights certification standards, the effectiveness of voluntary initiatives, and labour and governance issues in global supply chains. This has included presentations at the King's College of London Dickson Poon Transnational Law Institute, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2015 Science and Human Rights Coalition meeting, and The Fund for Peace's Human Rights and Business Roundtable. I have also been an active participant in public comments at major events such as the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, and the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct.

I am a proud Canadian and British dual citizen, currently living in London after nearly a decade in Washington, DC. Prior to that, I have lived in Canada in Montreal and Vancouver, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and in Sydney, Australia. 

Education

  • Juris Doctor, Georgetown University Law Center (Washington, DC, USA)
  • Certificate in Transnational Law, Center for Transnational Legal Studies  (London, UK)
  • Bachelor of Arts with Distinction, concentrations in Political Science, Economics, & International Development, McGill University (Montreal, Qc, Canada)

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

  • Attorney and Counselor-at-Law admitted in the State of New York (non-practising)