This resource was developed by Shift in support of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, a joint initiative of Shift and Mazars.
What does good corporate reporting on human rights look like?
Based on consultations with multiple investors, analysts and company representatives, we offer the following indicators that look beyond the quantity of information reported and consider the quality of the information included. Note: quantity in this instance is considered to mean the number of questions under the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework and the amount of information per question.
Quality indicators for corporate reporting on human rights
1. Governance: Does the reporting explain how the company’s governance structures support the management of human rights risks?
2. Specific processes: Does the reporting go beyond high-level statements of policy and commitment and discuss specific processes for implementing respect for human rights?
3. Specific impacts: Does the reporting refer to specific impacts that occurred within the reporting period and are associated with the company’s operations or value chain?
4. Clear examples: Does the reporting provide clear, relevant examples of how the company’s policies and processes have influenced practice and outcomes within the reporting period?
5. Stakeholder perspectives: Does the reporting explain how the company gains the perspective of stakeholders who could be negatively impacted?
6. Challenges: Does the reporting discuss complex or systemic human rights challenges and how the company grapples with them?
7. Metrics: Does the reporting include specific data, key performance indicators or other metrics that offer clear and relevant evidence to support the narrative?
8. Forward focus: Does the report include information about the company’s plans for advancing its efforts to respect human rights?
9. Strategic initiatives: If the reporting references particular initiatives, e.g., projects, third-party assessments or participation in industry or multi-stakeholder organizations, does it make clear how these initiatives help the company advance its own management of human rights risks?
10. Improving disclosure: Where this is not the first year of human rights reporting for the company, does the reporting show improvements in the quality of its disclosure in comparison with previous years, taking into account the indicators set out above?
Below we offer examples of how some companies’ reporting has met these indicators to a moderate or strong degree. Examples are drawn from the reporting of AngloAmerican, Coca-Cola Company, Ericsson, Gap Inc., H&M and Unilever. These are not the only companies whose reporting offers good examples, nor are these examples the only ones that could be found in their reporting. However, they are offered as inspiration for writers and readers of corporate reporting as they consider how to improve the quality of human rights disclosure. The examples are available by download the PDF on this page.
Regarding this collection of examples:
- For each company, excerpts are drawn from a single source of that company’s disclosure.
- Reports of different types are included. This means that text from annual sustainability reports may be cited alongside text from country reports, or other report types.
- Inclusion of an excerpt in this resource is not a judgment of the quality of a given company’s overall human rights disclosure.
Disclosure reviewed in detail; relevant excerpts included in the document:
- AngloAmerican, Sustainable Development Report 2014
- Coca-Cola Company, Responsible Investment in Myanmar, 2013 report; 2014 update report
- Ericsson, Ericsson Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report 2014
- Gap Inc., 2011/2012 Social & Environmental Responsibility Report
- H&M, Conscious Actions: Sustainability Report 2014
- Unilever, Human Rights Report, 2015