Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity)

This page provides information from Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity), an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to examining the impact and value of voluntary initiatives that address business and human rights issues.   For more information about the organization’s work or to discuss opportunities to work together, please visit www.msi-integrity.org, or email: [email protected].

I. Latest updates
II. About MSI Integrity
III. Tools & reports
IV. Research, shared learning & enagement
V. Documenting the impact of MSIs

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I. Latest updates

MSI Integrity published “Protecting the Cornerstone: Assessing the Governance of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Multi-Stakeholder Groups, on whether national multi-stakeholder groups—the driving force of EITI—are operated and governed effectively. It comes at a timely moment for EITI, because the requirements adopted in 2013 under the EITI Standard will be the basis of compliance evaluations of implementing countries in 2015. A summary report and guidance notes for civil society and for developing multi-stakeholder governance are available in English, French, and Spanish. For more information, please click here.

II. About MSI Integrity

Multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) are the collaborations between businesses, civil society and other stakeholders that seek to address the adverse impacts of business operating in our globalized economy.  Over the last two decades, MSIs and other voluntary initiatives have become popular tools for addressing business and human rights issues.  However, there has been very little examination of whether, and if so how, these initiatives can be successful in protecting and promoting human rights, or what aspects of these initiatives may be central to ensuring human rights protection.  MSI Integrity is focused on fulfilling this need by examining and understanding the impact and value of voluntary initiatives that address business and human rights.

In partnership with academic institutions, and local, national, and international organizations, MSI Integrity:

(1) Develops, applies and promotes criteria and guidance for evaluating initiatives from a human rights perspective.  MSI Integrity also conducts a limited number of evaluations of MSIs.

(2) Shares learning with initiatives and concerned stakeholders on good practices and encourages innovation to ensure that initiatives protect and promote human rights; and

(3) Facilitates research into the design and human rights impact of these initiatives, including studying effects on affected communities.

In all of its work, MSI Integrity takes a particular interest in how initiatives include, empower, and impact affected communities.  MSI Integrity is committed to independence, transparency, and human rights principles, and strives for engagement and reflexive consultation with all stakeholders.

III. Tools & reports

MSI Integrity develops tools and guidance for evaluating MSIs from a human rights perspective.  These tools and methodologies are freely available for public use, and allow users to easily evaluate the design of MSIs from a human rights perspective based on the publicly available information about an MSI.  The organization also conducts a limited number of evaluations of selected MSIs each year and publishes evaluation reports that include an overview of general trends and findings.

MSI Evaluation Tool: The MSI Evaluation Tool allows users to assess the institutional design of an MSI from a human rights perspective.  For details about how the tool was developed, and the accompanying methodology, please click here. The tool will be released soon and available on this page.

MSI Evaluation Reports: During 2012-2013, MSI Integrity conducted five pilot MSI evaluations, including: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Kimberley Process (KP), Global Network Initiative (GNI), Fair Labor Association (FLA), and 4C (Common Code for the Coffee Community). Pilot MSI Evaluation Reports will be released in 2015 according to permission from the evaluated MSIs, and will be accompanied by an overall summary report that analyzes and compares the results of the five pilot evaluations to identify major trends, challenges, and innovations observed.

IV. Research, shared learning & enagement

MSI Integrity is dedicated to sharing and enhancing understanding about the impact and value of voluntary initiatives that address business and human rights. To enhance understanding, MSI Integrity conducts research projects that strive to advance MSIs’ capability to protect and promote human rights, and to examine the impact of MSIs from a human rights perspective.

To share knowledge, MSI Integrity serves as an independent, impartial resource that offers a body of knowledge and expertise regarding existing good practices.

MSI Integrity provides engagement opportunities for MSIs and stakeholders to share learning across industry sectors and between rights-based approaches. Any individual, organization, or MSI can contact [email protected] to suggest or request shared learning opportunities.

Projects

Mapping MSIs: MSI Integrity has initiated a research project to identify and map existing MSIs in an open and accessible database.  This is the first public mapping of MSIs operating in business and human rights.  This project is being conducted with pro bono support from law firm Miller & Chevalier in Washington, DC. More details are available here.

Facilitating discussion across sectors: MSI Integrity plans to facilitate convening workshops and discussions for stakeholder groups, such as communities, civil society, businesses, and MSI staff.  These sessions will create opportunities for stakeholders in MSIs operating in different sectors to understand shared challenges, distill good and innovative practices, and establish priority areas of research for MSI Integrity to pursue.

Request urgent & critical research

Any MSI or stakeholder is welcome to contact MSI Integrity to request research to be conducted on a specific issue relating to MSIs or rights-holders that requires independent critical research. Potential topics are unlimited, and could focus on anything from analyzing particularly innovative efforts by a specific MSI to surveying common challenges faced by many MSIs. We review all requests for research that are received, and will pursue projects based on resource capacity and their potential to advance our mission to understand the human rights impact and value of voluntary initiatives. Research projects will be conducted only if it is consistent with MSI Integrity’s commitment to independence, transparency, and human rights principles, and engagement and reflexive consultation with all stakeholders.

Projects

EITI multi-stakeholder governance at the national level: In 2014, MSI Integrity conducted a comprehensive assessment of whether national-level multi-stakeholder groups in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) are governed and operated effectively. The assessment focused on the selection and participation of civil society in the multi-stakeholder decision-making processes.  This research was requested by Publish What You Pay (PWYP), who identified it as an urgent concern for the success of EITI.

In February 2015 MSI Integrity released the final report from this project, titled Protecting the Cornerstone: Assessing the Governance of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Multi-Stakeholder Groups. The report contains findings related to multi-stakeholder group internal governance, national secretariat independence and structure, the participation and involvement of relevant actors from civil society, and EITI global oversight, with recommendations for the international EITI Association, as well as national MSGs and stakeholders in implementing countries, and international funders and supporters of EITI. The report also includes a protocol for developing strong multi-stakeholder governance processes, and a guidance note with good practices for civil society participation in EITI.

The World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund reimbursed MSI Integrity for direct travel costs incurred in conducting interviews and attending meetings, however all research and activities were conducted independently of both the World Bank and the contributors to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund.

For news & events about recent activities at MSI Integrity, please click here.

V. Documenting the impact of MSIs

MSI Integrity’s long-term goal is to document the on-the-ground impact of MSIs from a human rights perspective.  To assist in tackling this challenging task, MSI Integrity is developing critical local relationships in countries affected by MSIs, and is building an academic network of research institutions interested in exploring MSI-related issues.  Academic institutions interested in exploring MSI-related issues in partnership with MSI Integrity are encouraged to contact: [email protected].

The first steps to considering how to assess impact involve researching impact assessment methodologies (see below), and small-scale pilot studies into impact will be conducted in the future.

Projects

Researching impact assessment methodologies: MSI Integrity has initiated a project to research and analyze existing human rights impact measurement tools to build a set of principles that may be applicable to assessing the impact of MSIs from a human rights perspective.  This project is being conducted in partnership with the Social Impact Hub in Sydney, Australia. More details are available here.