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Insights from speaking engagements: 2019

Insights From Speaking Engagements: 2019
We love sharing our work and learnings with industry and other important stakeholders. This post is an ongoing compilation of conferences and events we’ve spoken at in 2019.
H&M Renewable Energy Workshop, February 12, 2019 H&M is leading the way to a low-carbon industry by committing to a climate-positive value chain by 2040. Shahi was invited to present its ambitious renewable energy strategy as a “best practice” among H&M suppliers. Shahi has recently invested in an 85MW solar power plant, with a goal to use 100% renewable electricity by 2022. The event was hosted in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). ZDHC Regional Conference, South Asia, February 13, 2019 The key objective of this conference was to bring together supply chain partners in South Asia to discuss sustainable chemical management practices and innovations. Mr. Rajneesh Rai, GM, Environmental Sustainability and Laboratory, Shahi, was a panelist to discuss the experience of implementing ZDHC in India along with other esteemed representatives from leading textiles and apparel companies.
ZDHC scaled

Rajneesh Rai speaking at the ZDHC Regional Conference, Mumbai

Decent Work and Economic Growth in the South India Garment Industry, February 27, 2019 Chitra Ramdas, General Manager (OD), was a panelist at this consultation event hosted by The British Academy and Thomson Reuters Foundation. She presented Shahi’s approach and best practices on advancing women’s rights. 2019 UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights, March 14-15, 2019 Shahi was invited to speak on the opening panel discussion “Business and Human Rights: The contours of relationship” at this inaugural UN forum. Anant Ahuja, Head OD,  shared our approach and best practices on human rights and worker well-being. This talk also addressed the challenges faced at Shahi’s Unit 8 factory in 2018 and the remediation steps taken since, in line with the UN’s Guiding Principles. What made this moment especially important was that the stage was shared with the local union, KOOGU’s, Honorary President, Sebastian Devaraj. One of the key themes of the talk was that despite Shahi’s strong commitment to protect and promote the rights of our workers, we still do face challenges as a business. And ultimately for us, it’s not about saying we’ve got things right – it’s about how we can adapt, change and improve. Fair Fashion in Africa: Ensuring Women’s Health and Well-Being in the Workplace, May 2, 2019 Our Global Sustainability Partnerships Advisor, Laura Quinn, was invited to speak at a panel discussion hosted by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) and Department for International Development (DFID) to share Shahi’s experience in supporting women within the apparel supply chain. Promoting Employee Well-Being and Impacting Business at Workplace, May 14, 2019 It was a pleasure to have our employees, Kalyani Pandey and Poonam Nanda, speak at a panel discussion organized by Swasti Health Catalyst, Walmart Foundation, and FICCI on promoting employee well-being at the workplace. They shared their experience of undergoing soft-skills training at the factory and how it improved their self-confidence and performance at the workplace. Kalyani now runs a successful side-business with her husband and Poonam is now a soft-skills trainer herself, imparting training to other women in factories and training centers. Hosted the India launch of Social & Labor Convergence Project (SLCP), May 30, 2019 Shahi hosted the India launch of SLCP – bringing together all stakeholders for a day-long event to discuss SLCP’s operations, brands’ adoption plans, and manufacturers’ experience running pilots. Full coverage of the event can be accessed view more. Women Deliver 2019, June 2-6, 2019 Our head of Organizational Development, Anant Ahuja, spoke on three panels at Women Deliver 2019 in Vancouver, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women. It was a great opportunity to share our private sector perspective with an incredible array of development and gender experts and practitioners.
  • Innovating to Thrive, hosted by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Project Concern International (PCI)
  • Break the Barriers that Block Girls’ and Women’s Right to Reproductive Health,  hosted by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Panel Discussion on Corporate Action for Workplace Women’s Health and Empowerment, hosted by UNFPA, UN Foundation, UN Global Compact, and Danish Family Planning Association (DFPA)
Reframe-Participation of Women in Formal Workforce, July 17, 2019 We have been working with Breakthrough, a global human rights organization, on a program to create awareness on gender-based violence since 2017. We were invited to speak at their panel on “Increasing women’s participation in paid work – looking at solutions”, where Gauri Sharma, OD Manager, shared our concerns over the declining female labor force participation rate in India and the potential role of the garment export industry in reversing this trend. While challenges persist to bring more women into the formal workforce, we shared some strategies and policies that we have adopted to that create a conducive environment for women to stay and thrive in the workplace. Seminar on Enabling Competitiveness in Apparel Sector and Launch of Compendium for Good Management Practices, August 30, 2019 Shahi was invited to speak on the panel “Learning from Industry Initiatives and Experiences” at this seminar organized by Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) and International Labour Organization (ILO). Anant Ahuja, Head of Organizational Development, shared worker well-being strategy and best practices which have proven to be both good for business and employees. India and Sustainability Standards, November 20-22, 2019 We were invited to speak at this annual conference of the Centre for Responsible Business. Anant Ahuja, Head of Organizational Development, Shahi Exports, shared his thoughts on how business can transition towards a circular economy through industry-wide collaboration and innovation, at the panel on ‘Policy Interventions for Circular Economy in Textile and Apparel’. United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, November 25-27, 2019 Anant Ahuja, Head of Organizational Development, Shahi Exports shared different ways of incorporating gender equality principles in business operations at the panel on ‘Gender Guidance for the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: From Paper to Practice’. He further emphasized the need for the business to collaborate with Civil Society Organizations to create a win-win situation for the business and the workforce.

Anant Ahuja at the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland

Regional Meeting on Workplace Women’s Health and Empowerment in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, December 9-10, 2019 Chitra Ramdas, General Manager, Organizational Development, Shahi Exports was on the panel-‘Role of Suppliers in Worker Health and Well-being’. The meeting was organized by the United Nations Foundation in Bangalore. Shahi is implementing a pilot program on holistic sexual and reproductive health for garment workers and their communities in the Peenya district of Bangalore, along with its partners Good Business Lab and Family Planning Association of India. Chitra presented Shahi’s approach to investing in worker well-being. She emphasized the importance of addressing sexual and reproductive health issues as it can have positive impacts on both workers and the company.
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