The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark will publicly rank the top 500 globally listed companies on their human rights policy, process and performance, harnessing the competitive nature of the markets to drive better human rights performance. It aims to rank and reward companies doing well while highlighting poor performance of others and enable investors, society and regulators to challenge companies where performance lags behind that of their peers. The Benchmark is being led by a multi-stakeholder coalition which includes Aviva Investors, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, Calvert Investments, Vigeo-EIRIS, Nordea, the Institute for Human Rights and Business and VBDO.
The Benchmark will use information in the public domain to rank companies, as well as request some specific company information for submission directly to a public portal, and therefore aims to encourage greater disclosure of information by companies. The scoring methodology will focus on core aspects integral to respecting human rights and to sector specific issues, ensuring that companies from the same and different sectors can be benchmarked against one another.
During 2016, 100 publicly listed companies in the Extractives, Apparel and Agricultural Products sectors will be ranked on a pilot basis. During 2017, the benchmark will be expanded to include companies in the Finance, Heavy Manufacturing and Engineering, Light Manufacturing, Service Industries and Electronics sectors. The benchmark will be a free public ranking of the major companies around the world.
The need for the benchmark follows an increasing demand for credible information on companies’ position and performance on human rights and the recent development of guidelines and legislation aimed at achieving this; such as the publication of the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) Reporting Framework and the enactment of the UK Government's Modern Slavery Act in 2015. All three initiatives focus on similar information and share the goal of incentivising improved human rights across global value chains. Leading companies know that a proactive and comprehensive approach to human rights reduces risk and is increasingly recognised and rewarded by their customers, communities and other key stakeholders.
DNV GL offers world-leading certification, verification, assessment, and training services and can support companies by:
Preparing for the results of the benchmark, through:
- Conducting a pre-benchmarking exercise to anticipate position in the benchmark
- Developing a communication plan to respond to stakeholders after the release of the benchmark
- Conducting a risk assessment to map out the risks and opportunities related to human rights
- Developing policies and processes for articulating corporate commitments to human rights and integrating human rights into core business functions as usual operations
- Undertake human rights due diligence at the corporate, market, product, or site levels that identify unique company impacts, risks, and opportunities, in alignment with the UNGPs
- Facilitating internal or external stakeholder dialogues to better understand root causes and possible solutions of identified human rights issues
- Establishing performance indicators and procedures for monitoring and communicating your human rights performance and progress
- Preparation of communications on your human rights performance, such development of a UNGP Reporting Framework-aligned report, or content for your Strategic Report (UK) or Non-Financial Statement (EU).