Michael Kourabas

Trained as a lawyer, I now focus on legal business development, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and business & human rights. My past experience includes work on complex commercial litigation, international human rights advocacy, education policy, pro bono legal representation, and analysis of CSR challenges in both the private and public sectors.

Human Rights Guidance for Corporate Lawyers

Last week, the International Bar Association (IBA) issued guidance — the first of its kind — to bar associations, private lawyers and law firms about how to integrate the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights into their work.

Cambodian “Reintegration” Program Sends Sex Workers to Sweatshops

In case you still weren’t sure how you felt about labor practices in Cambodia’s growing apparel manufacturing sector, maybe this will help get you off the fence. According to a short video posted by VICE News last week, female sex workers arrested in Cambodia are being forced into jobs in the country’s infamously inhumane garment industry. If this is true, what to make of it?

Walmart Commits to More Sustainable Food. Is it Serious?

On Monday, Walmart held its second semi-annual Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting and announced a new pledge to help create a more sustainable food system. Taken at face value, the country’s largest food retailer appears to be making a real commitment to help develop a healthier, more affordable, and less environmentally damaging food supply. But how exactly is it planning to increase the sustainability of the food it buys and sells?

U.S. Promises Action on U.N. Human Rights Principles

Last week, the U.S. State Department announced that the government would develop a National Action Plan to “promote and incentivize responsible business conduct,” in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

In Wake of New Protests, H&M and Others Commit to Living Wages in Cambodia

A group of eight international fashion retailers, including H&M, Inditex (the owner of Zara) and Britain’s Primark, announced last week that they would support fair living wages for Cambodian garment workers and were prepared to factor such wages into their pricing. The official support came just days after the Cambodian government, for the second time this year, deployed armed troops in response to rallies by garment workers seeking higher minimum wages.

Berkshire Beyond Buffett? Not So Fast

Berkshire skeptics question whether such a large and tentacular entity can continue to thrive without its Oracle-in-Chief. Lawrence Cunningham, a law professor at George Washington University and author of the thoughtful “Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values” (Columbia Business School Publishing), is betting that it can. While Cunningham’s book works quite well as a testament to Warren Buffett’s unassailable vision and leadership, as well as to what Berkshire embodies and may continue to embody after Buffett, it comes up a bit short as an argument for why Berkshire’s greatness will outlive its leader.

The 2015 European Games in Azerbaijan: Human Rights Violations Already

As oil-rich Azerbaijan prepares to host next year’s inaugural ‘European Games,’ the Azerbaijani government has stepped up its crackdown on activists speaking out against its abysmal human rights record. As of this writing, more than 20 human rights defenders have been detained by the government, including four of the country’s most prominent activists.

Jay-Z’s Got 99 Problems, But Prop 47 Aint One

If approved, Prop 47, known as the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative, will reduce the penalty for most nonviolent crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor and direct the money saved from incarcerating fewer individuals — estimated to be between $150 million and $250 million each year — to a Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund.