What You Need to Know About the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark

On March 21, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (“CHRB”) released the methodology that it will use to rank 100 companies on their human rights performance as part of an initial pilot. The companies chosen for the pilot include members of the extractive, apparel, and agricultural sectors.

Earlier this year, the CHRB announced the list of companies that it will assess as part of the pilot effort. The companies were chosen based on market capitalization as well as global geographic representation.

The scores and rank that CHRB assigns to companies will be made public. The initial pilot rankings are expected to be released in November 2016. Companies will be assessed in the following areas: governance and policy; systems and processes; performance; responses to allegations; and transparency. The methodology includes the indicators that will be used to assess companies in each of these areas.

The CHRB is intended to incentivize companies to improve their management of the human rights impacts of their business operations, in part through providing information to investors, policy-makers and regulators, civil society, workers, communities, consumers, and customers. In the most recent release, the CHRB cites a recent survey of 853 corporate executives conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit which found that, of all possible interventions that could enable them to meet their human rights responsibilities, “a public benchmark” of corporate human rights performance was the top choice.

The benchmarking process will focus on key industry risks and will referenced international and industry standards.  Key issues that will be considered for each of the three initial industry sectors include:

  • Agriculture – child labor, forced labor, freedom of association and collective bargaining, health and safety, land rights, water and sanitation, women’s rights;
  • Apparel – child labor, forced labor, freedom of association and collective bargaining, health and safety, women’s rights, working hours; and
  • Extractive – freedom of association and collective bargaining, health and safety, indigenous peoples rights and free prior and informed consent (“FPIC”), land rights, security, water and sanitation.

The CHRB was launched in 2014 by the Institute for Business and Human Rights, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Aviva Investors, Calvert Investments, EIRIS, and VBDO.

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