MSI Integrity Webinar — At the Root of Abuse: Challenging the Corporate Form

On September 23, 2020, MSI Integrity led a breakout session, entitled “At the Root of Abuse: Challenging the Corporate Form,” at the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)’s first ever virtual Annual Meeting. Watch the recording embedded above or on YouTube here. The breakout session explored how the corporation is itself a main driver of human rights abuse and economic inequality,

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Aleena Pasha: Developing a Community of Practice with MSI Integrity

What are the underlying systems or incentives that drive corporate-related human rights abuse? How could we start to transform the systems or tackle those root causes? What might a progressive vision for the future of corporate accountability look like? How does—or doesn’t—the current human rights framework fit into such diagnosis and visioning? In the midst of a tumultuous summer, I

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Rethinking MSIs: Restructuring MSIs to Improve Social Compliance in Supply Industries

by Zobaida Khan After the devastating and avoidable collapse of the Rana Plaza in 2013 in Bangladesh, two innovative multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) emerged: the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (“Alliance”) and the Bangladesh Accord on Building and Fire Safety (“Accord”). They engaged a diverse group of regulatory actors (local suppliers/producers, foreign buyers, the International Labor Organization, the national government, and

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Rethinking MSIs: Time to Bury MSIs?—Not so Fast

MSI Integrity’s Not Fit-For-Purpose report is the culmination of a decade of examination of 40 standard-setting multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) focused on corporate accountability and human rights. Its release in July 2020, coincidentally but significantly, comes amid the epic disruption of a global pandemic and a historic movement for racial equality. Both COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter have separately and together

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Rethinking MSIs: MSIs and the Search to Cure the Global Governance Gap

The phenomenon of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) has spread rapidly across the globe since the 1990s, with governments and multinational corporations (MNCs) alike promoting them as the new solution to the global governance gap even before they were fully road-tested. Civil society organizations (CSOs) saw them as a way to engage MNCs on the environmental and social problems exacerbated by global

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Austin Hwang: Reflections on My Time at MSI Integrity

I joined MSI Integrity at a crossroads in the organization’s history. As I was starting my internship in June this year, it was wrapping up a massive study which ultimately concluded that multi-stakeholder initiatives (the “MSI” in MSI Integrity) were ineffective at keeping corporations accountable to rights holders and communities affected by their decisions. The study revealed that corporate capture

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Rethinking MSIs: Be Wary of the Fox(es): A Power Analysis of MSIs

by Rebecca Tweedie and Tyler Giannini The opening blog in this series laid out two different paths MSIs could have taken: The allure [of MSIs] was (and still is) obvious. If we bring the right players together, they can learn from each other and solve the given problem by setting up a democratic institution that can prevent future abuses and

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MSI Integrity is Hiring a Research Director and Development & Outreach Coordinator

We’re hiring! Positions have opened up for our new Development and Outreach Coordinator and Research Director roles. Both of these will be central to our new effort to move Beyond Corporations. See the position overviews below and visit our employment page for more information. Research Director (Full-Time, Remote) We are looking for a brilliant, personable and dedicated Research Director to

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Our COVID-19 Policies: Striving for a New Normal in the Workplace

Seven months have passed since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Ten months since the novel coronavirus was first discovered. In less than one year, the world has lost so much: millions of businesses, millions of jobs, and most catastrophically, nearly one million people—an undercount. Yet, given the unpredictable nature of the virus, and the predictable

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MSI Integrity’s Amelia Evans and Malene Alleyne Co-Author “Exit to Community” Zine

The tech community Zebras Unite and the University of Colorado Boulder’s Media Enterprise Design Lab (MED Lab) launched a digital and physical zine yesterday that was co-authored by MSI Integrity’s Executive Director, Amelia Evans, and former Research Coordinator, Malene Alleyne. The zine, entitled “Exit to Community: A Community Primer,” is a guide to the Exit to Community (E2C) strategy, whereby

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Lexology: Ethical Certifications: can we really trust them?

“The MSI Integrity report makes clear that ethical certification schemes alone are not instruments of human rights protection. They are not effective in ensuring accountability for corporate abuse. They do, however, continue to have a role as part of a more complex picture. Thus, whilst certification schemes will no doubt continue, it is necessary to supplement these with other measures.

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Rethinking MSIs: Are Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives Mere Lip Service for Local Communities?

by Jaff Bamenjo, Coordinator of RELUFA/Cameroon Multi-stakeholder Initiatives (MSIs) emerged in the 1990s as frameworks for engagement between governments, the private sector and civil society organizations (CSOs) to address human rights issues in business. There are currently several sector-specific MSIs around the world originally conceived to address problems, ranging from labor abuse to corruption, in agriculture, extractive industries, forests, the

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Rethinking MSIs: Where Is the Debate About Democracy and Multi-stakeholder Governance?

by Harris Gleckman Multi-stakeholder standard-setting organizations, or multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), are part of a wider political push to introduce multi-stakeholderism as a legitimate component in global governance. However, they are not sufficiently democratic or accountable to external constituencies to warrant their status or standing as global governance tools. Understanding the different types of MSIs: standard-setting, policy-setting and project-delivery There are

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PRESS RELEASE: COVID-19 PANDEMIC EXPOSES FAILURES OF TRADITIONAL CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY WHILE WORKER-DRIVEN ALTERNATIVES PAVE WAY FORWARD

Contact: Teddy Ostrow teddy@msi-integrity.org +1 (718) 594-5873 MSI Integrity publishes study based on a decade of research with searing critique of traditional corporate social responsibility model; presents cautionary tale for corporate-led responses to pandemic Berkeley, California, August 11, 2020 — As COVID-19 disrupts global supply chains and spreads among essential workers in the US and overseas, the Harvard-incubated Institute for

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Rethinking MSIs: Regulating Responsible Business Conduct

By Manon Wolfkamp, David Ollivier de Leth and Mariëtte van Huijstee Between 2014 and 2019, Dutch businesses in garments and textile, banking, forestry, gold, food products, insurance, pension funds, metals, floriculture, and natural stones all entered into government-induced agreements to encourage responsible business practice. Over five years, eleven such agreements were completed. These multi-stakeholder, voluntary, sector level Responsible Business Conduct

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Zebras Unite: Pivot to People: It’s Time to Build the New Economy

“This month, researchers at MSI Integrity released “Not-Fit-For-Purpose,” their final report about these practices, and the culmination of a decade of analysis. The verdict? This experiment failed. Behind the external public relations campaign, power consolidated, and rights holders became disenfranchised. Not only did these efforts fail to address the root causes of abuse, but they cloaked and compounded them. The

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Executive Director of MSI Integrity, Amelia Evans, discusses new report on Radio FM4

“We need to shift away from this reliance on voluntary initiatives—period—and actually start to demand that our governments do what they’re supposed to do, which is to regulate—at the local, national and international levels—corporations,” says Amelia Evans, Executive Director of MSI Integrity, on Radio FM4’s You’re at Home, Baby! with Christian Cummins. Listen to the full interview broadcast here.

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Rethinking MSIs: Binding Brands to Create Change

by Christie Miedema, Campaign and outreach coordinator, Clean Clothes Campaign When the COVID19 pandemic hit, garment brands and retailers around the world cancelled their orders. What was to them a logical risk and cost reducing measure, meant destitution for millions of garment workers around the world. Public outcry over corporate behavior led a range of brands to quickly mend their

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Coalition of Immokalee Workers: New Study Confirms: All social responsibility programs NOT created equal!

“This exciting new study underscores the unprecedented effectiveness of the the Fair Food Program, and the urgency of the need to expand the broader WSR model to millions of workers in industries across the globe.  The evidence is clear, yet far too many corporations remain slow to recognize the model’s unique efficacy, and continue to partner with, and invest in,

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Rethinking Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives Blog Series

by Tyler Giannini and Amelia Evans Ten years ago, our clinic was asked to figure out a way to evaluate whether multi-stakeholder initiatives—or MSIs for short—were helping to advance human rights or whether in fact they were doing precisely the opposite. MSIs are voluntary governance efforts that bring together corporations, civil society, academics, and in some cases governments and rights

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BHRRC: MSI Integrity report finds corporate oversight initiatives fail to detect & remedy abuses; calls for more effective regulation of corporations

“The Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity) […] released a report concluding that global efforts by some of the world’s largest multinational corporations, governments, and civil society organizations have failed in their goal of protecting against human rights abuses by corporations,” writes the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. See the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s full write-up

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The Guardian: Ethical labels not fit for purpose, report warns consumers

“The study of 40 global voluntary initiatives, including emblematic on-pack labelling schemes such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Fairtrade International, identifies multiple failures in what it refers to as a ‘grand experiment’ in corporate accountability,” writes Oliver Balch in The Guardian. Read The Guardian‘s full coverage of MSI Integrity’s new report, Not Fit-For-Purpose, here.

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JULY 30 EVENT: Beyond Business-As-Usual: Lessons from Workers, Communities and the Failed Experiment of Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives

For the past three decades, the corporate accountability and business and human rights communities have been in a process of experimentation, searching for interventions that protect people and the environment from corporate abuse. From treaties and due diligence, to naming-and-shaming and direct engagement, the efforts underway span far and wide. MSI Integrity’s recent report examines one such experiment—international standard-setting multi-stakeholder

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PRESS RELEASE: A DECADE OF RESEARCH FINDS SYSTEMIC FAILURES IN LEADING GLOBAL CORPORATE HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVES

Report by MSI Integrity finds prominent corporate oversight initiatives fail to effectively detect and remedy abuses; calls for more regulation of corporations. Berkeley, California, July 16, 2020 — The Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity), a nonprofit incubated at Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, today released a report concluding that global efforts by some of the world’s

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Solidarity with the Protests Against Racial Injustice

We must hold corporations accountable for their roles in structural racism and racial violence. MSI Integrity condemns the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Manuel Ellis, Sean Monterrosa, and the ongoing police militarism, white racial violence, and structural racism in the United States. We stand in solidarity with protestors taking to the streets

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Panel Discussion on the Past and Future of MSIs at the Launch of the MSI Evaluation Tool

Last month, MSI Integrity, the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, and Miller & Chevalier hosted the panel discussion, “MSIs Then and Now: What’s at Stake?” (video link). The discussion was held at SAIS in Washington, D.C. and brought together MSI stakeholders, academics, and business and human rights experts

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Release of MSI Evaluation Tool and Essential Elements of MSI Design

Today, MSI Integrity is proud to release the MSI Evaluation Tool in partnership with the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at Harvard Law School. Alongside the Tool, MSI Integrity is also releasing a summary companion document, The Essential Elements of MSI Design. The MSI Evaluation Tool was developed collaboratively by MSI Integrity and the IHRC through a five-year iterative process

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Report: Workshop on Addressing Gaps in EITI Accountability and Grievance Mechanisms

Although the rules of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) include safeguards to protect civil society’s meaningful participation in the initiative, in many EITI-implementing countries, natural resource governance activists continue to risk persecution, intimidation, and harassment for their EITI-related work, without recourse to trustworthy mechanisms to report these breaches. The report published today, EITI Accountability and Grievance Mechanisms: Perspectives from Civil Society

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The New Regulators? MSI Integrity and Duke Report on the Global Landscape of Standard-Setting MSIs

Today, MSI Integrity and the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics published a summary report on our new database of standard-setting multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs). In the report, The New Regulators? Assessing the Landscape of Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives, we analyze 45 MSIs that set voluntary standards for business and government conduct on a range of human rights and

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MSI Database: A Response to Reflections from the Center for Business and Human Rights at the NYU Stern School of Business

In June, MSI Integrity and the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, with pro bono support from the law firm Miller & Chevalier, launched the MSI Database, a searchable online resource for information about multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs). The database catalogues the design characteristics of 45 transnational standard-setting MSIs in the field of business and human rights,

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Introducing the MSI Database: An Overview of the Global Landscape of Standard-Setting Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives

Today, MSI Integrity, the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and Miller & Chevalier launched the MSI Database, a searchable online resource for information about multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs). Available at www.msi-database.org, the website catalogues information about the scope, governance, and operations of transnational standard-setting MSIs. Since the 1990s, MSIs have emerged as prominent global governance institutions,

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Research Workshop on Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives at Occidental College: Introducing the Global MSI Research Network

Last month, the John Parke Young Initiative on the Global Economy at Occidental College, the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program, and MSI Integrity hosted academics and practitioners for a research workshop on multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs). Through research presentations and interactive discussions, participants reflected on what we know—and still don’t know—about the political dynamics, effectiveness, and impact of MSIs two

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Voluntary Measures: Overreliance on MSIs in the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct

This blog is designed to provoke thoughts and encourage debate about the function, effectiveness and role of MSIs. The views expressed here are the personal views of the author and are not the institutional positions or views of MSI Integrity. We welcome critiques and responses on the ideas below. If you would like to post a long-form response, or contribute

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Update: Duke MSI Workshop and North Carolina House Bill 2

On May 26, MSI Integrity and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University co-convened an academic workshop on the design and efficacy of multi-stakeholder initiatives. Because core human rights protections are under threat in the workshop’s host state of North Carolina as a result of the passage of House Bill 2 (HB-2), MSI Integrity reached out to LGBTQ+ student

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Response to HB-2 and the upcoming Duke University Workshop on MSIs

On Thursday, MSI Integrity and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University will be co-convening an academic workshop on the design and efficacy of multi-stakeholder initiatives. This is part of MSI Integrity’s ongoing partnership with the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, which has been focused on mapping multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs). The event will include

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MSI Integrity: Expanding and Hiring

Since launching publicly in 2013, MSI Integrity has worked to foster a culture of critical reflection on whether multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) are effective at protecting and promoting human rights. In just a few years, we’ve held global consultations and public dialogues addressing questions of MSI effectiveness, released a major report into governance of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and are

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Comments on Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Draft Indicators

On September 30, 2015, MSI Integrity submitted comments to the public consultation on the proposed indicators for the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. Consistent with our expertise, our submission focused solely on the indicators relating to multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs). Our full submission is publicly available on the CHRB consultation feedback website, and can be downloaded here. We support the CHRB’s underlying

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Gaining Focus: Stakeholder discussions on MSI effectiveness

Over the last few months, MSI Integrity has participated in a range of different discussions that all came back to the same theme: the effectiveness of MSIs. Participating in these dialogues—coordinated by organizations that ranged from universities to donor collaboratives to scientific communities—has made it clear that stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds are converging around the need to answer

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EITI Governance Report translated by Albanian EITI Secretariat

On July 10, 2015 the Albania EITI Secretariat translated and published an Albanian version of our report on multi-stakeholder governance in EITI, Protecting the Cornerstone. In publishing the report, the Secretariat stated on the Collaboration 4 Development EITI Community of Practice website that they “found this report very important”. This translation offers wider audiences in Albania the opportunity to access the findings and

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Power, Participation, and MSI Governance: Food for Thought from Harvard Law Discussion of EITI Governance Report

On March 24, 2015, the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School hosted Amelia Evans and Stephen Winstanley from MSI Integrity for a lunch discussion about the recently released report, “Protecting the Cornerstone: Assessing the Governance of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Multi-Stakeholder Groups”. While the report focuses on only the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the students and faculty in

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If you do it, “do it correctly:” DRC, Philippines, and USA experiences on the value of robust EITI governance

To kick off global discussions of MSI Integrity’s report Protecting the Cornerstone, PWYP hosted a panel discussion in Washington, DC on “Multi-stakeholder governance in EITI: opportunities and challenges” on February 12. The lively discussion included an introduction by Eddie Rich, Deputy Head of the EITI International Secretariat, who provoked much discussion with his views on internal governance in EITI. It

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“Protecting the Cornerstone” report on Multi-Stakeholder Governance in EITI Published

Today MSI Integrity released a landmark report on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), assessing whether national multi-stakeholder groups–the driving force in EITI–are operated and governed effectively. The report, “Protecting the Cornerstone,” comes at a timely moment for EITI as countries prepare for validation under the EITI Standard in 2015. Follow this link to learn more about the report, and to download the

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EITI Governance Assessment to be released on February 12 – do you want to discuss the findings?

On February 12, 2015, MSI Integrity will release Protecting the Cornerstone: Assessing the Governance of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Multi-Stakeholder Groups. The report will present the findings and recommendations from our 2014 independent research project to assess whether the multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs) at the national level in the EITI — which are responsible for implementation of the EITI process in each country — are

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MSI Integrity Special Page Launched on BHRRC

On June 13, 2014 the Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC) officially launched a Special Page dedicated to MSI Integrity’s tools, reports, and research and engagement projects.  The page will provide updated information about MSI Integrity’s evaluation tools, MSI evaluation reports, and details regarding current and past research projects and engagement programs. We hope that this BHRRC special page

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Country Visits to Independently Assess EITI Multi-Stakeholder Governance Complete

What does effective multi-stakeholder governance look like in practice? MSI Integrity co-founder Amelia Evans has recently completed in-country visits to the Philippines, DRC, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Azerbaijan to talk with civil society, community, government, and business representatives about their experiences with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Amelia has been listening to the successes and challenges that stakeholders have experienced both

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MSI Integrity Attending Wilton Park Conference on Effectiveness of MSIs

MSI Integrity has been invited and will attend an exclusive conference at Wilton Park in London, UK, from April 28-30 on a topic that is at the heart of MSI Integrity’s mission: “Increasing the effectiveness of multi-stakeholder initiatives through active collaboration”. Wilton Park is a globally recognized forum for strategic discussion that organizes over 50 events each year focusing on

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MSI Integrity Board Adopts Core Advisory Group Recommendations

MSI Integrity is pleased to announce that our Board has adopted the core recommendations from our 2013 global consultation and review process. The Board has released a statement explaining all of the actions that MSI Integrity will take to meaningfully implement the Advisory Group’s core recommendations, which is available on our website.  The feedback throughout the process strongly affirmed the value and

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Advisory Group Presents Recommendations and Considerations

MSI Integrity is pleased to announce that the Advisory Group officially presented the Board with its final report on October 16, 2013. The report contains considerations and recommendations for the Board, based on an extensive review of the feedback and comments received during the 2013 Global Consultation and Review Process. The report can be reviewed on our website. Over 100

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2013 Global Consultation Comment Period Now Closed

MSI Integrity thanks the many individuals and organizations who have submitted comments during our 2013 Global Consultation, from May 1, 2013 until August 31, 2013. The comment period is now closed. At this time, all submitted comments and global consultation meeting notes have been directed to the Advisory Group for review and incorporation into their final report and recommendations to

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MSI Integrity Publicly Launched!

The Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity) was officially launched at Harvard Law School on April 17, 2013. MSI Integrity aims to ensure that multi-stakeholder initiatives protect and promote human rights. The launch of MSI Integrity coincided with the announcement of a public consultation and review of the indicators and standards used to evaluate MSIs. The consultation will be open

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