An innovative leader and standard-setter for responsible business and investment, Bennett Freeman has co-founded multi-stakeholder initiatives and coalitions focused on the extractives, technology, and apparel sectors including the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the Global Network Initiative, the Cotton Campaign, and B4Ukraine. As principal of Bennett Freeman Associates LLC, he advises multinational corporations, international institutions, and NGOs on policy and strategy related to human rights and labor rights. He is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House and a frequent conference speaker, university lecturer, and media commentator.
Freeman was the lead author of Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders (2018) which has inspired and informed corporate policies and actions around the world. He published an October 20, 2020 FORTUNE op-ed More CEOs must stand up to protect our democracy calling on ccorporate America and Wall Street to support the peaceful transfer of power following the U.S. presidential election, ahead of such statements from the Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and National Association of Manufacturers.
As Senior VP for Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments, Freeman directed the firm’s ESG analysis, shareholder advocacy, and public policy initiatives from 2006–15. He served as a Clinton presidential appointee in three positions at the US Department of State, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 1999–2001. Freeman was Manager-Corporate Affairs at GE from 1985–93 after beginning his career in 1982 as a presidential campaign aide and speechwriter for former Vice President Walter Mondale.