New report assessing 74 of world's largest companies of human rights reporting stresses need to identify salient human rights issues
Author: Michelle Langlois, Shift; supported by the UK Department for International Development, EY and Hermes Investment Management, Published on: 9 May 2017
Human Rights Reporting: Are Companies Telling Investors What They Need to Know?, May 2017
...Our key finding is about the most critical area for improvement: over half of companies provide no clarification about which human rights are most relevant to their operations and value chains. Instead, these companies just refer to certain human rights related issues without any apparent rationale...In addition to this top finding, we see a story emerging about various – and for some companies cumulative – failures in the governance of human rights risks, at least based on their disclosure: Lack of oversight: 45% of the companies reviewed do not clearly identify who is responsible and accountable for managing human rights risks. Lack of clarity about internal controls: approximately 90% of the companies do not have a coherent narrative about how risk or impact assessments inform mitigation actions taken, how decisions are made or if senior management is ever involved. Total silence on governance: 16% of the companies provide no information at all about governance of human rights, nor even about governance of broader issues such as “sustainability” or “corporate social responsibility.” Finally, when we look to actual outcomes, fully 45 percent of companies provide no information whatsoever about how they track their performance on human rights – leaving readers in the dark about whether any of their efforts translate into positive outcomes for people...