Launch of draft indicators to measure companies’ human rights performance

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) led by a group of investors, an NGO, a think tank and an investor research agency, today launched a public consultation on the first draft of indicators that will be used to rank companies on their human rights performance. The CHRB is looking for feedback on the draft indicators in advance of their first application in a pilot ranking in June 2016. 

The CHRB will harness the competitive nature of the markets to drive better human rights performance through the creation of a transparent, credible and publicly available benchmark. It will balance measuring companies on human rights related policies, processes and practices.

Each company’s own process to determine and manage their most salient risks, with a focus on risks that are significant in their sector, will be assessed. Company performance will also be measured through a range of indicators combined with an assessment of adverse events that have occurred, and the company’s approach to addressing and remediating them.

The draft indicators span 5 measurement themes across 9 subtopics, totaling over 50 indicators. Once the methodology is finalized, the top 100 globally listed companies will be benchmarked in the pilot ranking in June 2016. These companies will span three key sectors, covering Food & Beverage/Agriculture, Apparel, and Extractives. Over the next three years the Benchmark will expand to cover the top 500 global listed companies.

The CHRB is consulting widely on the first draft of the indicators and its general approach, including in Amsterdam, London, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, and New York. An online consultation, launched today in English, will allow feedback from a wide range of stakeholders all over the world – the online consultation will soon be available in Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Consultations will be held through till September 2015, with the online consultation closing 31st August 2015. The CHRB are calling for feedback from the wide range of interested stakeholders, including business, investors, unions, and civil society.

Steve Waygood of Aviva Investors said: “Having finalised the first draft of our methodology, we are now convening a series of multi-stakeholder consultations in major cities around the world and online. The aim of these meetings is to consult and seek feedback from all stakeholders on the methodology and broad critical issues. These consultations are crucial to ensuring our approach is transparent and that the Benchmark delivers in its promise to make corporate performance on human rights easier to see and simpler to understand.” 

John Morrison of the Institute for Human Rights and Business said: “There has been a lack of sufficient incentives and disincentives for making human rights a reality in businesses’ day to day practices. Achieving a benchmark ranking, the top globally listed companies will create a fundamental new driver in corporate performance, and help to separate the leaders from the laggards.”

Peter Webster of EIRIS said: “Stakeholder input via the consultation is a vital part of the Benchmark’s development. The Benchmark will be an open source, publicly available ranking of companies that empowers global stakeholders with information to use for their own purposes. Having developed the first draft set of indicators, we now encourage all stakeholders, including communities, investors, business and policymakers, to take part in the consultation. Your contribution helps the CHRB to develop a credible benchmark that ultimately makes the greatest mutual impact in spurring forwards corporate human rights performance.”

Phil Bloomer of Business and Human Rights Resource Centre said: “This important consultation will ensure that the Benchmark delivers results everyone can use, including campaigners, trade unions, investors and governments. We need inputs that draw on the expertise and talent of diverse range of people working on business and human rights issues.”

Giuseppe van der Helm of VBDO said: “Over the next three years powerful information will be made available through an open source, online portal to enable investors, companies and civil society to value the social impact of companies.”

Bennett Freeman and Mike Lombardo on behalf of Calvert Investments said: “The Benchmark will be a critical tool for investors to assess how companies address human rights-related risk. Participation in these consultations from investors is crucial to ensure we deliver a benchmark fit for this purpose.”

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