July 11, 2015
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Publishes Draft of Key Performance Indicators
by Robert Kropp
The Benchmark publishes two documents about which it seeks input: a framework for multi-stakeholder
consultations, and a draft list of key performance indicators.
Launched late last year by a coalition including EIRIS and Calvert Investments, the Corporate Human Rights
Benchmark (CHRB) draws upon the Guiding Principles on
Business and Human Rights of Professor John Ruggie in an effort to benchmark the performance of
large corporations in respect to honoring human rights in their business practices.
Additional coalition members are Aviva
Investors, the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, the Institute for Human Rights and
Business, and VBDO, a Dutch association of investors for sustainable development.
respondents felt benchmarking companies on their human rights performance would be the best option
to enable them to better fulfill their corporate responsibility to respect human rights,” CHRB
stated in a recently published draft framework for multi-stakeholder consultations. “In addition to
incentivizing business behaviour, the CHRB will make an important contribution to creating greater
leverage for policy-makers, investors, communities and consumers.”
“The Benchmark will be
an open source, publicly available ranking of companies that empowers global stakeholders with
information to use for their own purposes,” Peter Webster of EIRIS said.
In addition to
the draft framework, CHRB has published its first draft list of key performance indicators (KPIs)
pertaining to business and human rights. According to a press release, “The draft indicators span 5
measurement themes across 9 subtopics, totaling over 50 indicators.” When the methodology is
finalized, the indicators will be used to benchmark the human rights performances of the top 100
globally listed companies in the Food & Beverage/Agriculture, Apparel, and Extractives industry
The five overarching measurement themes include leadership, governance,
management systems, performance, and reporting/transparency. The nine subtopics include, under
governance, policy commitments and board level accountability; under management systems, embedding
policy, human rights due diligence, and remedies and grievance mechanisms; and under performance,
KPIs and good practice, and adverse effects.
The expected impacts of the benchmark,
according to the draft framework, are relevant for at least four stakeholder groups:
Investors will be better equipped with information to direct investments to companies actually
performing against international human rights standards and away from those who are not;
Business will be incentivized to make information publicly available and when adverse events do
occur they will be more likely to demonstrate how they addressed them and “lessons learned”,
resulting in greater preventative measures as well as adequate remedies for victims;
society, communities and customers will be empowered to make well-informed choices about specific
companies to engage with, through greater transparency and better data on performance, and will
have better information to encourage and pressure human rights advances by companies; and
Policy-makers and regulators will have an objective means by which to focus on those companies and
business sectors that have the greatest human rights impacts and in particular those which are
underperforming against significant human rights risks, highlighting where increased regulation and
incentives might be necessary.
“Consultations will be held through till September 2015,”
the press release states, “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.”
In a statement, 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.”
SRI World Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.