Company outreach 2016
We are involved with a number of different approaches to companies on their human rights policies and practices in 2016. Some of these are undertaken directly by the us, others are undertaken by initiatives which we are a part of. All of them aim to increase transparency and enable progress on human rights in business.
However, we recognise that companies are increasingly being asked to disclose information on human rights and this can be resource intensive. As a result, we aim to coordinate and phase these processes where possible to make the them accessible and efficient for the responding companies.
Below is a brief description of each outreach and the partners involved.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s Company Action Platform
In 2015, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited 180 companies to provide information on their policies and practices on human rights (see full questionnaire here in 9 languages). Over 50% of companies responded and the results were published in an online database allowing users to explore and compare answers.
In 2016, the Resource Centre is returning to companies who have submitted information to the Company Action Platform to allow them to update their answers, and expanding the questionnaire to cover additional companies.
What information is being sought? We ask companies to respond to a questionnaire which seeks brief responses to provide a snapshot of companies’ policies and actions on human rights generally, particularly in relation to the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights. Companies are also welcome to point to relevant parts of their existing public reporting on human rights, rather than answering the questions in the questionnaire.
Who is involved in the initiative? Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s surveys to spotlight urgent issues
From time-to-time, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre undertakes targeted outreach on emerging urgent issues. For example, Myanmar Foreign Investment (2015 & 16), Syrian refugees in Turkish garment factories (2016), renewable energy companies and human rights (2016), migrant workers in Gulf construction (2015 & 16).
What information is being sought? Questionnaires seek information on companies’ operations in relation to those issues, particularly the scope of their operations, and how they are identifying, reacting to, and remedying, those human rights issues.
Who is involved in the initiative? Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, often in consultation with specialist international and local groups, relevant business, and investors.
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark
The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) is the first-ever ranking of the largest 500 companies on the planet, looking at the policies, processes and practices they have in place to systematise their human rights approach and how they respond when things go wrong. The benchmark is based on publicly available information and will provide a comparative snapshot year-on-year. The 2016 pilot benchmark will rank the top 100 companies (according to market capitalisation) in the agricultural products, apparel, and extractive industries.
What information is being sought? The CHRB draws on publicly available information and encourages companies to include relevant information in their own documentation and websites, and in their formal reporting. However, companies can make any new statements or information publicly available through the CHRB Disclosure Platform and that information may be used in the Benchmark’s assessment. This ensures companies can put the most relevant and updated information in front of CHRB researchers. If companies opt not to disclose further information, researchers base their assessments on the information they can find in the public domain.
Who is involved in the initiative? Corporate Human Rights Benchmark is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by Aviva Investors, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Calvert Investments, Vigeo EIRIS, the Institute for Human Rights and Business, and VBDO.
KnowTheChain is benchmarking the top twenty companies in three sectors (ICT, food & beverage, and apparel & footwear) where forced labour is particularly acute. The benchmark is a measurement of those companies’ disclosure of their policies and practices to mitigate the risk of forced labour and human trafficking in their supply chains.
What information is being sought? KonwTheChain will review information that is publicly available, either on a company’s public website or in public reports available from the company’s website. Companies are also invited to provide additional disclosure by updating their own websites, or by responding to a set of engagement questions that correspond to the benchmark methodology.
Who is involved in the initiative? KnowTheChain is led by Humanity United, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Sustainalytics, and Verité.