Is the Reporting Framework another way of packaging the same information companies already produced for sustainability reports, or do companies have to do something different?

Many companies have easily at hand at least some of the information asked for under the Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. The Reporting Framework implementation guidance also includes cross-references to other key reporting initiatives to show how their provisions or indicators can form part of an answer to a question in the Reporting Framework, enabling coherent and holistic reporting on human rights.

The UNGP Reporting Framework is unique among existing non-financial reporting initiatives in its focus on salient human rights issues: those human rights at risk of the most severe negative impacts. It asks companies to identify their salient human rights issues and then focus their reporting on how they are managed. This uses the lens of risk to people, not the business, as the starting point. At the same time, evidence shows that where risks to people’s human rights are greatest, there is strong convergence with risk to the business, whether in the form of operational disruptions and delays, lost productivity and business opportunities, lower staff morale and reputational harm.

Identifying salient human rights issues is not a new process: it’s simply the first stage of human rights due diligence under the UN Guiding Principles. Identifying these issues is how a company works out where to focus its initial resources in managing human rights risks.

By contrast, most companies’ reports today are produced following the concept of materiality, for which a multitude of definitions exist. In practice, when conducting materiality assessments, many companies discount human rights issues due to flawed assumptions and a lack of internal understanding of how human rights issues connect to the business. So they miss the opportunity identify those human rights that are at greatest risk and should be priorities both for risk management and for reporting. Salience gives a simple and robust method that addresses this gap. And while it is distinct from materiality, it can easily be used alongside materiality assessments, to identify the human rights priorities for disclosure.

Learn more about salience human rights issues here.