UNGP Reporting Framework and Corporate Human Rights Benchmark

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB), launched in December 2014, will rank the top 500 globally listed companies on their human rights policy, process and performance, harnessing the competitive nature of the markets to drive better human rights’ performance. This FAQ explains the relationship between the CHRB and the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework.

1. Is there a difference between the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework and CHRB?

The two are separate but complementary. The initiative that produced the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (the Human Rights Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative, RAFI), focuses on the content and assurance of corporate human rights reporting, while CHRB focuses on benchmarking companies’ human rights performance.

RAFI’s goal is to advance meaningful human rights reporting by companies that in turn supports improvements in their human rights performance. RAFI is doing this through the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (UNGPRF), launched in February 2015, and a separate but related framework for the assurance of that reporting, which is now under development. The CHRB’s goal is to incentivize better human rights performance by companies. This is done by reviewing reporting by companies and information from third parties, as the basis for benchmarking companies on their human rights policy, processes and performance. The two initiatives therefore serve different purposes, while focusing on similar information, with the shared goal of incentivizing better human rights outcomes.

2. What is the connection between the two initiatives?

The CHRB and the UNGPRF use the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as the starting point of their initiatives. The CHRB will use public information on companies to power its Benchmark. Companies that report using the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework will be publishing the kind of information sought by the Benchmark. Company-reported information that is eventually assured according to the RAFI process will be given additional weight in the benchmarking process. In other words, RAFI is about eliciting meaningful information on how company practices seek to respect human rights and how those practices evolve over time, while the CHRB is about assessing such information and benchmarking companies on that.

3. Are the two initiatives coordinated?

The initiatives are in dialogue about coordinating to achieve complementarity to the greatest extent possible and create synergies that can prompt better human rights performance by companies. The two initiatives play different but reinforcing roles in driving improved corporate respect for human rights. The process of human rights reporting focuses senior management attention on human rights issues, supports improvements in human rights risk management and provides a stronger basis for engagement with stakeholders. A benchmark of company performance, that draws on high-quality information from companies and third parties, also captures senior management attention, makes corporate human rights performance easier to see and simpler to understand for a wide range of stakeholders and can play a particular role in catalyzing a ‘race to the top’. Improved corporate reporting will strengthen the basis of a benchmark, while a strong benchmark will incentivize continued improvement in performance and reporting.