[Online winter academy] Due diligence as master key to responsible business conduct

25 - 29 January 2021
  • Starts at: 09:00h
  • Fee: Students and NGOs: €495, Professionals: €895
  • Venue: Online
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  •   Register


What does it mean to do business right?  How can businesses be held accountable for their negative social and environmental impacts throughout their transnational supply chains? And: what are the legal mechanisms that can help steer them towards responsible business conduct?  The fourth edition of our Doing Business Right winter academy will focus on the function and functioning of due diligence as a central regulatory response to these questions.

This year’s academy will be delivered online, it brings together students, academics and professionals from around the world and provides a deep dive into the due diligence process as a strategy to achieve responsible business conduct.


The work of John Ruggie as UN Special Representative on business & human rights was prolific and had a transformative impact on the regulatory choices taken to tackle the human rights responsibilities of corporations. In particular, the second pillar of his UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), endorsed unanimously by the Human Rights Council in June 2011, has had a long-lasting influence.

This second pillar popularised the concept of human rights due diligence as the central process that businesses need to introduce in order to abide by their responsibility to respect human rights. From thereon, the concept was transplanted into a variety of regulatory instruments, such as the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises or the French law on the devoir de vigilance. In turn, it has become the touchstone of debates related to responsible business conduct and a primary demand by civil society organisations pushing for stricter regulations of transnational corporations.

Building on the 2020 DBR winter academy, the 2021 edition will dive further into ‘the pillar of the second pillar’: human rights due diligence. We will retrace the genealogy of the concept, investigate its theoretical underpinnings, and provide participants with a hands-on understanding of its practical operation through specific case studies conducted by experienced practitioners.

Target audience

This winter academy is designed for academics and professionals working on issues related to business and human rights and corporate social responsibility, in particular:

  • Researchers and advanced students
  • Members of civil society organisations
  • Civil servants of national and international organisations
  • Lawyers and legal counsel for corporations

Course aim

Through a blending of theory and practice, the 2021 DBR winter academy aims to equip participants with the necessary know-how to engage with the growing practice of due diligence in their daily work in civil society organisations, corporations, administrations or academia.


The preliminary programme for the 2021 winter academy on 'Doing business right: Due diligence as master key to responsible business conduct' is available here.

Confirmed speakers 

Reviews from the 2020 DBR winter academy

“I hoped to expand my perspective on the UNGPs and their practicability. This programme actually exceeded my expectations, it was incredible.”

“It will definitely help me to advance in my own research and practice which is focused on due diligence in the ICT sector.”

“I feel this is a really good way of gaining knowledge on the topic. Both at a theoretic as well as a pragmatic level.”

Registration and questions 

Click here to register for this winter academy. Please read the terms and conditions carefully.

For inquiries, please contact educationtraining@asser.nl.

About ‘Doing business right’

The T.M.C. Asser Instituut carries out research on developments in international and European law and its potential to serve the cultivation of trust and respect in the global, regional, national and local societies in which the law operates. This winter academy is part of the research project on ‘Doing Business Right’, which is part of the broader research strand 'Advancing public interests in international and European law'.

This winter academy is an advanced education programme developed by the Asser Institute in the framework of its Doing Business Right project on furthering fundamental research and public debates on the responsibilities of businesses in times of globalisation. It is a platform for (future) business and human rights professionals to meet and exchange on the latest developments in the field with a team of experts.