Over the last 15 years of a three decade-long career, Bennett Freeman has worked at the intersection of multinational companies, responsible investors, NGOs, governments and international institutions to promote corporate responsibility, sustainability and human rights around the world. An innovative leader in the fields of business and human rights, natural resource governance and responsible investment, he has played key roles in developing and leading several now well-established multi-stakeholder initiatives and global standards.
From 2006-15, Freeman was Senior Vice President-Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments, the largest family of sustainable and responsible (SRI) mutual funds in the U.S. He led the firm’s environmental, social and governance analysis and its shareholder advocacy and public policy initiatives on issues such as Sudan divestment and responsible investment in Burma; extractive revenue transparency and conflict minerals; Internet freedom of expression and privacy; corporate governance and gender diversity.
He is Chair of the Advisory Board of Global Witness; Board Secretary of the Global Network Initiative; a member of the Governing Board of the Natural Resources Governance Institute; member of the Board of USSIF—the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment; a member of the Advisory Board of the Responsible Sourcing Network; and Board Chair of EG Justice. He formerly served on the boards of the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Oxfam America and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
As U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 1999-2001, Freeman led the State Department’s bilateral human rights diplomacy and the development of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the global human rights standard for the oil and mining industries. Previously he served as Senior Advisor to Under Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Stuart Eizenstat from 1997-1999 and as Chief Speechwriter for Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. Before joining the State Department as a Clinton presidential appointee, he was Manager-Corporate Affairs for GE from 1985-1993 after beginning his career as a speechwriter and presidential campaign aide to former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale from 1982-1984.