Guidance for companies on how to report on their human rights performance has been launched.
The United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, which is issued in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), is the first comprehensive guidance on the subject, and the first to align with the global standard on business and human rights.
It is the result of a consultation and research led by non-profit organisation Shift, and international accountancy firm Mazars.
The Reporting Framework, organised in a series of ‘smart’ questions, enables companies to begin reporting on their human rights performance, regardless of size or how far they have progressed in implementing their responsibility to respect human rights.
Companies including Ericsson, H&M, Nestlé, Newmont and Unilever have already started using the reporting framework, and many other companies across various industries are expected to start using it this year.
Some 67 investment organisations representing $3.91 trillion of assets under management have signed a statement of support for the framework. In a joint statement they called it “an essential tool for investors to review companies’ disclosure on their understanding and management of human rights risks, to incentivise improved disclosure on human rights issues, and to guide their engagement with companies”.
Caroline Rees, president of Shift said: “The UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework is a ground-breaking and vital tool for companies to know and show that they are managing risks to human rights effectively throughout their operations and value chain, with the potential for positive impact on millions of peoples’ lives.
Richard Karmel, head of human rights at Mazars said: “The Reporting Framework will act further as a guide to companies on how they can modify their behaviours and enhance their controls to reduce the potential for negative human rights impacts.”
Last October, the European Union adopted a directive requiring around 6,000 companies to disclose non-financial information, including their human rights performance, by 2017.