Kakuzi, an agribusiness firm in Kenya, has appointed an Independent Human Rights Advisory Committee (IHRAC) to be chaired by former Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai.

With the appointment of the committee to its Board, Kakuzi is the first corporate organization in Sub Sahara Africa to constitute and establish such an independent advisory panel.

In appointing the IHRAC, Kakuzi joins a growing list of globally focused institutions’ progressively adopting the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This includes the football governing body FIFA, Global Chemicals manufacturer BASF SE, Adidas, among others.

Speaking as he confirmed the appointment of the IHRAC, Kakuzi MD Chris Flowers said the committee would provide independent technical advisory to the firm’s Board of Directors.

“Alongside the IHRAC body, Kakuzi has also enacted an Operational-level Grievance Mechanism also benchmarked against the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” Mr. Flowers said.

Other members of the new Kakuzi IHRAC include former Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) Board Member Grace Madoka, former Finlays Kenya Legal Director Dr. Brenda Achieng, and Kakuzi non-executive independent director Andrew Ndegwa. An additional member will be announced soon. Both Ms. Madoka and Dr. Achieng are Advocates of the High Court of Kenya and have extensive corporate governance experience, while Mr. Ndegwa is a Chartered Accountant.

“As part of our core values, the Board of Kakuzi is sincerely committed and desirous of strengthening end to end efforts to ensure that human rights are respected in all our operations. The appointment of this IHRAC committee underscores this commitment to voluntarily protect, respect and remedy any human rights grievances as responsible business practices,” Mr. Flowers added.

On his part, Kakuzi IHRAC Chairman Prof. Githu Muigai said, “Kakuzi is pioneering a public accountability program demonstrating its commitment to respecting human rights within its operating and supply chain environment. The members of the IHRAC are meant to autonomously advise and review Kakuzi’s action points to ensure that the firm remains at the leading edge of this accountability program. Above all else, adopting an IHRAC is advantageous to all stakeholders.”

The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights recently released an assessment of the first ten years of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights implementation by States and businesses noting that, “There has been significant progress over the first decade, as witnessed by a growing number of companies committing to respect human rights and a recent surge of legislation in Europe making respect for human rights and the environment a mandatory requirement for businesses.”

In December this year, the UN Working Group plans to launch a roadmap for implementation over the next decade.