Prof. Dr. Hanno Kämpf and lecturer Waschma Kamal, who advises international companies on identifying human rights risks on a full-time basis, offered the Business and Human Rights option in the Business Law (LL.B.) program in the 2022/2023 winter semester. The Bachelor of Business Law is one of the first law programs at universities to offer the Business and Human Rights option. The two initiators emphasize that there are also long-term plans to establish sustainability as a topic in the degree program, and point out that practical relevance in particular should be a fundamental focus. Accordingly, the students were required to work in groups to design a human rights due diligence process for the companies at which they were employed as student workers as part of the examination. This allowed them to put the theory they learned in the class into practice within the companies. The groups developed concepts based on the premise of how the companies could meet their essential due diligence obligations under the Supply Chain Act and global standards. The participating students were required to present the results to compliance departments at “their” companies.
Dr. Henriette Gutmayer, Head of Legal and Compliance at Danone, became aware of the work of her student worker Amely Jäschke and invited all students taking the option to Danone. There, the students, including Moritz Hahn, Amely Jäschke, Noah Karstedt, and Julia Weber, presented a Responsibility Cycle they had further developed for Danone. It consisted of a policy statement, a risk analysis, prevention and remediation measures, and documentation and reporting. All compliance employees throughout Germany, as well as employees from Danone’s purchasing departments, also participated in the presentation using an online connection.
In closing, the students confirmed that the further development of their original group work for Danone had provided them with comprehensive and beneficial insight into actual day-to-day working life. The intensive exchange and cooperation with the company in particular represented a unique experience for them. Dr. Gutmayer was also impressed by the students’ performance. With this, the Business and Human Rights option has overcome all the hurdles and will certainly be embraced by the students in the future.