Launch of the Government Procurement Project

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable launches the “Government Procurement Project”

Governments at the federal and state level are large purchasers of goods and services and can therefore exert a tremendous amount of leverage on corporate actors to comply with requirements to compete for these lucrative contracts. Even outside of the market power of governments, there is a growing recognition of their duty to ensure protection for human rights, as was recognized in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

There have been a number of positive steps by the federal government here in the United States, as well as at the state level, to alter procurement policies and practices in ways to promote respect for human rights by corporations.

This Project seeks to build off of this momentum through clarifying and building consensus around how the US government can engage in the State duty to protect human rights by building on procurement requirements that mandate businesses conduct human rights due diligence, or prohibiting contracts to businesses that have been found to have violated human rights.


1. Analyze and map existing policy, regulations, and research.

2. Formulate legal and policy recommendations at the federal and state levels.

3. Develop a report that includes analysis and legal arguments to back such recommendations.

4. Develop a strategy for long term implementation of the recommendations.


Professor Anita Ramasastry is the UW Law Foundation Professor at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, where she also directs the graduate program in the Law of Sustainable International Development. Her teaching and research focuses on commercial law, law and development, business and human rights and anti-corruption. From 2009-2011, she served as a senior advisor to the International Trade Administration of the US Department of Commerce on trade policy in emerging markets, anti-corruption and business and human rights. Ramasastry has previously served as an expert for ICAR’s Human Rights Due Diligence project. As part of this project, she co authored an expert report entitled Human Rights Diligence: The Role of States (with Olivier De Schutter, Mark Tayor and Robert Thompson) which was published in December 2012. Ramasastry is also a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Human Rights and Business.

Professor Robert K. Stumberg is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he is also the director of the Harrison Institute for Public Law. The Harrison Institute is a teaching and service program that works with public officials and nonprofit organizations. His past positions include policy director at the Center for Policy Alternatives and legislative counsel for Montgomery County, MD. Professor Stumberg has 35 years of experience in legislation, economic development, community lending, and housing policy. Most recently, he has studied the impact of trade agreements on state and local government, including energy, water services, prescription drugs, foreign investor rights, and agricultural subsidies.

Dr. Bama Athreya has a life-long commitment to human rights and corporate accountability. During her twelve-year tenure as Deputy and then Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), Dr. Athreya was recognized as a leading voice in the United States on the issues of forced labor, trafficking and child labor. In 2009 she was appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to a special Consultative Group on Forced and Child Labor. While at ILRF she also served as one of the founding Board members of the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium. Most recently, Dr. Athreya served as Executive Director of United to End Genocide, a human rights organization dedicated to ending mass atrocities worldwide.

For more information please see the attached document.