Q&A With Eurosif on Public Database of Corporate Reporting on Human Rights

31 May 2016 — In a new Q&A, Shift President Caroline Rees discusses with Eurosif, the leading pan-European sustainable and responsible investment membership organization, how the creation of the UNGP Reporting Database is helping increase understanding of how companies are embedding the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in their business.

This Q&A was originally published by Eurosif.

Q: Why did you think there was a need to develop a database and how did you position it against the complex reporting landscape we know today?

A: The database is about helping everyone easily assess what companies are telling us about how they respect human rights in practice. This information is critical to equip markets to recognize and reward good performance and incentivize the poorer performers to improve.

At present, human rights reporting is the weakest part of most companies’ non-financial disclosure. It may tell us a lot about philanthropic initiatives and staff volunteering, and perhaps about supply chain audits, but it often says little about how human rights are addressed by the core business.

It’s now almost five years since the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were endorsed. The UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, launched last year by Shift and Mazars, sets out the questions that good human rights reporting should address. It complements and works seamlessly with other reporting initiatives, including GRI G4. It shows how the indicators they provide can support a fuller, coherent narrative about how the company is progressing in the governance and management of human rights risks in line with the UN Guiding Principles.

The database takes the next important step. It is a public resource that helps everyone see the extent to which companies are currently answering the questions that matter about their human rights performance. It makes it easy to assess strengths and weaknesses and find examples of good reporting and performance that companies can learn from. These insights enable more constructive and targeted conversations between companies and their stakeholders. And they help market actors make better informed decisions.

Read the complete Q&A here.