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$4.8 trillion investor coalition backs first business and human rights benchmark

A coalition of over 80 institutional investors, with $4.8 trillion in assets under management, has pledged support for the creation of the  Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) – the world’s first wide-scale benchmark on companies’ human rights policies, processes and practices.

The investors include Boston Common Asset Management, Aviva Investors, APG Asset Management, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Church of Sweden and Australian Ethical Investment.

This coalition of investors originally came together in February 2015 to lend its support to the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, (UNGPRF) as a critical means to advance meaningful disclosure of companies’ human rights performance.

The group has decided to add its support to the CHRB by amending the UNGPRF Investor Statement to include the following paragraph: “The undersigned signatories welcome and support the creation of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) which has announced it will provide a free public ranking of major companies starting with particularly exposed sectors and based on information published through the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework and other public information from and about companies on human rights issues. We encourage companies to make proper disclosure under the UNGP Reporting Framework.”

The first results of this free and public business and human rights benchmark will be published in November 2016. This pilot benchmark will include the top 100 companies from the agricultural products, apparel and extractives industries.

Meanwhile the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has marked the fifth anniversary of the creation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by producing analysis of the advancements, setbacks in the five years and the future challenges. In 2015 34 of the top 50 companies in the world had a publicly available human rights policy. However, this is set against some terrible tragedies hitting workers in developing countries such as an iron ore tailings dam collapse in Brazil last year killing 17, displacing hundreds of people and leaving thousands without safe drinking water and the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing manufacturing facility in Bangladesh in 2013 which killed over 1,100 people. At the same time it is still difficult for ordinary people across the world to gain legal redress when large companies have acted irresponsibly, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre said.

What do you think?