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The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark launch

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) has released its first report ranking the human rights performance of the top 100 globally listed companies from the apparel, extractive and agricultural sectors, based on their public disclosures. There are 41 extractive companies included. The benchmark was founded by socially responsible investors representing $4.8 trillion in assets and human rights organizations in order to develop a more objective measure of corporate human rights performance and disclosure.

This year’s benchmark is a pilot and IPIECA welcomed the opportunity to actively participate in the consultation and engagement that CHRB offered on development of their methodology and intended approach over the past two years.

IPIECA's members have been working on the issue of human rights for many years. We have produced guidance documents and tools, addressing industry’s salient issues and strengthening the ‘Responsibility to Respect’ human rights. Our work covers due diligence, impact assessments, grievance mechanisms, security, Indigenous Peoples engagement, the supply chain and social investment.

Respecting human rights in operations is a value shared across our membership. More than 80 percent of member companies have a Human Rights Statement or Policy, and active human rights management systems. These adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and include compliance expectations, guidance on training, processes and procedures and tools. Additionally, over 90 percent of IPIECA members publish a sustainability report (including on human rights issues), and use of both a robust materiality process, and recognised reporting standards to inform what they report on. Out of the 90 percent who report, the majority use the IPIECA, IOGP, API Oil and gas industry guidance on voluntary sustainability reporting, as well as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 framework, among others.

Social performance is not as easily measurable through objective, quantifiable metrics as financial and environmental performance, so the CHRB may serve as a useful tool to help companies assess how to report on their human rights work. IPIECA's members share the CHRB desire to see improvement over time in companies’ human rights performance. Given the complex nature of these challenges, it will be a long-term endeavour.

IPIECA’s members have raised concerns in relation to a number of features of the CHRB methodology, including industry partnership structures, managing grievances across diverse global operations, and some of the selected indicators. Also, by focusing on allegations, the benchmark does not  capture all the positive work that companies are doing on human rights.

The CHRB’s stated aim of driving a “race to the top” in terms of corporate human rights performance will only be achieved if the benchmark’s assessments are well executed, credible and based on a methodology that is applied with an understanding of the challenges facing each industry. IPIECA welcomes further open and informed discussion with CHRB to share our perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses, and help refine and improve the methodology over time.

For more information on IPIECA’s work on human rights, see http://www.ipieca.org/our-work/social/human-rights/