We advise companies on the implementation of the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) and security management that is compliant with International Finance Corporation Performance Standards.
Our human rights compliance practice helps clients ensure their implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) is fit-for-purpose and aligned to good practice. Going beyond gap analyses, we cover a company’s broader ESG policy framework, human rights risk footprint, and the implementation of specific requirements in exposed value chain and functional areas.
The INCAS Mediation Support Team includes seasoned experts who support our clients in corporate dispute resolution with communities and activist groups, political mediation and dialogue, and engagement with armed groups.
Our strong field networks and research/investigations capabilities enable us to handle sensitive investigatory assignments. We implement security risk assessments, human rights investigations, risk identification and due diligence, and carry out commodity tracing.
There is increased scrutiny of company supply chains, particularly on issues of corruption, poor labour practices, indirect terrorist finance, and human rights violations. This is a necessary part of the drive towards fair, clean and safe certification. Our responsible sourcing practice helps clients carry out supply chain due diligence, trace commodities, and apply good practice controls of their supplier universes.
We help our clients deliver results and assess their humanitarian, development assistance, and social investment efforts. We add value through our deep expertise in a host of sectors – from health and education to agriculture, water, and energy – and cross-cutting areas, especially climate change, governance, and gender
Our capacity-building practice covers staff training, institutional development, coaching and mentoring for all our other practice areas.
Our peace and development work spans community security, violence early warning and response systems, conflict-sensitive programme design, and conflict mapping, analysis and impact assessment.
We help clients develop social investment programmes, assess investment impacts, map contributions towards the SDGs, and identify and manage social issues.
The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) are critical for companies to manage the potential human rights impacts of their security arrangements on communities. We help companies develop VPSHR action plans that are well-crafted and executable, enabling them to better operate in unstable and violence-affected areas.
In addition, our security management advisory supports clients to comply with the requirements of the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standard 4: Community Health, Safety, and Security. Current IFC guidance goes beyond the VPSHR and calls for companies to also manage the security impacts on communities affected by their operations.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) require companies to respect human rights in their operations. The UNGPs are increasingly codified into norms, policy and law at domestic, regional, and international levels. Company implementation of the UNGPs is fast becoming a requirement of investors and international financial institutions for project finance.
Our human rights compliance reviews help clients understand whether their implementation of the UNGPs is fit-for-purpose and aligned to good practice. We go beyond gap analyses to define a client’s human rights footprint, look at human rights within the broader Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy framework, and ‘deep-dive’ into specific requirements in exposed value chain and functional areas. Beyond these reviews, we also carry out site-level Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIA), investigations and checks, human rights training and capacity-building, and the design and review of grievance-mechanisms.
We specialise in applied mediation and dispute resolution for corporate clients, which covers the resolution of disputes with communities and other stakeholders. We also engage in preventive work for high-risk projects, as well as social license recovery and business diplomacy. Our expertise covers political mediation and dialogue, and engagement with armed non-state actors. We apply several key execution principles in our work, which include a ‘do no harm’ approach and sustaining the client’s relationship with key stakeholders.
We have a robust track-record in carrying out complex field research and investigations in high-risk environments. Past assignments have included mapping out illegal crude oil bunkering operations in the Niger Delta, assessing the infiltration of gold mines in East Africa by criminal syndicates, and documenting Taliban and ISIS control of mine sites in Afghanistan. We retain a zero-accident and incident track-record.
The thoroughness with which we prepare is core to us maintaining a zero-accident and incident track-record. As with all our work, for field research and investigations we draw on our field and technical networks to understand the environments in which we will operate, carefully select and train our field researchers, and incorporate Do No Harm principles into all planning and research/investigation processes. We also apply strict health, safety, and security protocols, which help protect our teams, ensure information integrity, and client interests.
The most challenging supply chains to investigate and commodities to trace are those that involve sourcing from transition, fragile and conflict-affected areas. We help our clients carry out supply chain due diligence, trace commodities and associated risks, and strengthen supply chain controls. We apply a Do No Harm approach to all our work, which helps protect key stakeholders and client relationships.
Our skills and corporate experience enable us to help companies put effective supply chain controls in place. In order to do this, we typically map out the ESG policy architecture, review existing controls and non-technical quality assurance/labelling systems of procurement and supply chain management, identify gaps in alignment with good practice, and then help put solid controls in place.
Gudrun Van Pottelbergh
Our experts know a thing or two about the post-2015 development agenda – after all, they helped come up with it. From the development goals of the last millennium to envisioning the goals for this one, our teams enable clients to better deliver on their humanitarian, developmental and social investment commitments
We have extensive experience designing humanitarian, developmental, and social investment programmes for our clients. Rooted in the decades that our experts have spent doing this work in transition, fragile, and conflict-affected countries, we possess a clear sense of what works and what type of programmes will deliver specific outcome. We also design monitoring systems and conduct evaluations that ascertain impact and help adjust intervention logics.
Peace and development has been a core theme for our experts since the start. We bring hands-on expertise from doing this kind of work from places such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Nigeria.
Although we have a broad toolbox that we use to meet client requirements, we are focused on community security, early warning and response, conflict-sensitive programme design, and conflict-mapping, analysis and impact assessment.
Our peace and development practice is closely connected to our group’s work on mediation and dispute resolution, social investment and performance, and security and human rights.
Social investment and performance remain critical risk management and societal acceptance tools for business. In transition, fragile and conflict-affected areas, it takes on even greater importance.
We support our clients with seasoned and quickly deployable social investment and performance experts. They help with social investment programming and impact assessment, social issues identification and management, as well as mapping corporate contributions to the SDGs.
We offer training modules in the areas of conflict management and resolution, risk assessment and early warning, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and business resilience, to mention but a few. We align our training to our service areas to deliver results that last.
When we develop bespoke training programmes, we tailor them carefully to client needs. We do this by understanding client learning preferences, draw on innovative teaching methods, and are take a fundamentally practical approach. Trainings are delivered by seasoned practitioners with training skills, rather than trainers with some experience.
Human Rights and Indigenous Groups in Central America
In 2015, we provided human rights compliance support for a major extractive company which was engaged in complex negotiations with indigenous groups in a Central American country. The exercise involved tactical advice, relationship building, and the implementation of a conflict-sensitive human rights compliance assessment.
Recovery of Social License to Operate
In 2013, we designed and coached a major extractive company to arrive at a social license to operate with a tribal community that hosted a critical asset. The exercise involved an assessment, intervention planning, and training of company community liaison officers in dialogue and negotiation techniques.
Training on Scenario Planning and Network Analysis
In 2014, we delivered a training programme for the East Africa Community’s Early Warning Centre focused on social network analysis, scenario planning, and gathering field-based evidence. The training drew on cognitive behavioural techniques to enable trainees to think clearly and strategically in situations of great duress.
Risk Analysis of Small-Scale Criminal Mining
In 2017, we provided analysis and advisory services rooted in field-based evidence for a corporate client in East Africa to address risks associated to criminal groups controlling artisanal and small-scale mining.
Images clockwise from top:
• Aerial view from Mali to Mauritania, by Emmanuelle Diehl
• Oil theft in the Niger Delta, by David Nyheim
• Mara River in Tanzania, by David Nyheim
• Dubai skyline, by Emmanuelle Diehl
• Aerial view of the Sahel, by Emmanuelle Diehl
• Mine security vehicle, by David Nyheim
• Community association in Central America, by Emmanuelle Diehl