Is the Reporting Framework a certification?

The Reporting Framework is not a certification. Nor does or should it provide the basis for certification. What it does do is provide a principled approach, based on the authoritative global standard of the UN Guiding Principles, for companies to assess and report on how they meet their responsibility to respect human rights.

Separate work is now underway through the Human Rights Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative (RAFI) on the issue of assurance. Practitioner consultations were held in June 2015, of which summary reports are publicly available. In light of these discussions, a first draft of practitioner guidance for assurance providers will be prepared for multi-stakeholder consultation in autumn 2015. This guidance should help both companies’ internal auditors as well as their external assurance providers assess the effectiveness of companies’ human rights-related policies and processes, and enable assurance providers to present more meaningful public opinions on companies’ human rights reporting than is often the case today.

This is distinct from a certification process, which states that a company’s overall performance reaches a certain clear threshold across the board. This is difficult, if not impossible, to provide with regard to human rights for any large company.