Human Rights Day: How anyone can make a difference

HP’s Human Rights Lead Tu Rinsche on how companies and employees can respect, advance, and advocate for human rights with better policies and operations.

By Lauren Grayson — December 6, 2022

Human rights abuses may seem like a distant problem to those of us working comfortably behind a computer. But unfortunately, they’re ubiquitous. This is the message of HP’s new Human Rights Lead, Tu Rinsche, who challenges companies, employees, and customers to rethink what they know about human rights, including how much power they have to help. 

HP’s ambitious 2030 Sustainable Impact goals are what inspired Rinsche to make the leap back into the corporate world and the technology sector. 

“When I saw that HP’s aspiration is to be the most just and sustainable technology company in the world, I said, ‘I want to work for HP.’” 

As a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Mauritania, Rinsche worked for the US Department of State, joining one of the first government offices focused on corporate social responsibility in the Human Rights Bureau. Additionally, Rinsche led human rights policies and programs at Disney and Marriott, where she spearheaded an employee awareness initiative that reached 500,000 people within two years. 

At HP, she chairs HP’s Human Rights Council and coordinates the company’s human rights efforts relating to corporate policy and due diligence, mandatory disclosures on how HP is combating modern slavery, regulatory tracking, and global advocacy and strategic initiatives.

Rinsche oversees a team that partners closely with other teams leading human rights work, including human resources and DEI, supply chain responsibility, and privacy. 

Tu Rinsche, Human Rights Lead at HP

Tu Rinsche, Human Rights Lead at HP

This month, the United Nations kicked off a year-long campaign to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Ahead of Human Rights Day on December 10, the Garage sat down with Rinsche to discuss her efforts at HP and how anyone can make a difference in improving the quality of others’ lives. 

What led you to a career in human rights? 

Recently, I’ve become more comfortable sharing that I came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam. I didn’t get to where I am today without the help of countless people and organizations that believed in the human rights of all people to seek safety and a new home. If I can give back in some small way through my life’s work and leverage the collective power of the industry by working with companies and organizations that believe in this mission, then I know I’m on the right path. 

How did your work in the public sector influence the way you approach your role today? 

As a result of my government experience, I have a deep understanding of policy making, the many government processes that are involved, and how to translate government expectations into strategies for companies. 

Human rights is a complex subject. How would you describe what it encompasses?

Human rights is something so intuitive that affects all of us, and its abuses are happening everywhere. I always point to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has 30 specific articles of general concepts around liberty and dignity, the right to safety, and the right to be able to live your life. 

In what ways do human rights abuses show up in a company’s operations?

Companies in all sectors at any point throughout their value chain and operations can face a variety of human rights risks. It could be child slavery in a commodity supply chain, poor working conditions in factories, or privacy and user rights. As a result, companies can potentially face high-profile and costly reputational risks and legal liabilities. 

But overall, protecting human rights is simply the right thing to do. HP has a legacy and core values steeped in human rights, and I am excited about our path forward as a continued leader in this space.

Fatchurofi Muhammad

What is HP’s commitment to human rights? 

There are increasing inquiries from customers and other external stakeholders, as well as mounting regulations from policy makers, requiring greater transparency from companies about their human rights efforts. HP is not only responsive to such requirements and inquiries, we’re also actively deepening our efforts in communicating and prioritizing human rights due diligence across our value chain. 

This work requires many internal stakeholders, like government affairs and public policy, to help review, navigate, translate, and engage with policy makers on behalf of the company. The company also has an internal Human Rights Council with senior leadership across multiple functions that is accountable for driving the company’s human rights strategy within their sphere of responsibility. 

Where can people start to help advance human rights? 

Each of us has the power to stand up for human rights and take action, however we can. Externally within your  community, supporting and buying ethically made products as another way to make a small, positive dent — particularly with purchasing power. 

As HP’s human rights efforts evolve, what does success look like? 

Success means executive champions at the highest level, board engagement, and interest in human rights being embedded across HP’s value chain. Respecting human rights is everyone’s job at HP. My hope is that by viewing it as your job, it’ll continue to inspire people, give them purpose, and have them be proud to work for a company that’s committed to human rights.


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