UNGP Reporting Database Launches

Database shows companies’ own reporting on human rights, compared to expectations of the UN Guiding Principles

22 March 2016 — A new database launched today gathers together for the first time companies’ own reporting about how they are implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UN Guiding Principles Reporting Database, developed by Shift, shows how companies’ current disclosure responds to the key questions about their performance posed in the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. The UNGP Reporting Framework, launched in 2015 by Shift and Mazars, is the world’s first comprehensive guidance for companies to report on how they respect human rights.

“When companies pay attention to the quality of their human rights reporting, this typically leads them to focus more attention on their performance as well, motivating improvements over time. That is the ultimate objective of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Database,” said Caroline Rees, President of Shift.

The UNGP Reporting Database does not judge how well a company is implementing the UN Guiding Principles, nor does it rate or rank corporate performance or disclosure. Instead, the database enables companies and their stakeholders to draw their own conclusions about how meaningfully a company is reporting on its progress towards implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. The database draws only from information companies publish in their own websites and reports, in order to support integrated approaches to how companies think and talk about human rights in their core business. The database’s catalogue of corporate disclosure can be used widely to support analysis, ranking or benchmarking of corporate reporting on human rights by other initiatives.

“The UNGP Reporting Database helps investors assess the material impact of human rights on companies’ performance. This helps us as investors to examine the extent to which current company reporting meets our expectations for meaningful disclosure around human rights risks, as clarified by the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. Shift has created an agile tool where investors are able to download the disclosed data for customised analysis, facilitating ESG integration in investment decision-making. We are excited by the opportunity this database presents in our engagements with companies,” said Professor Christine Chow, Associate Director and Team Lead on human and labour rights, Hermes EOS of Hermes Investment Management.

Lauren Compere, Managing Director at Boston Common Asset Management said, “Ultimately, investors want to protect value by knowing human rights risks are being monitored and managed by the companies they invest in. The UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework provides smart and comprehensive guidance that means investors can more effectively identify and understand human rights risks in their portfolio. With the latest database, companies now also have a means to compare their reporting — and performance — to that of their peers, and compare it to the questions of the Reporting Framework.”

> The UNGP Reporting Framework is supported by an investor coalition of over 80 investors representing over $4.8 trillion assets under management

The Reporting Database currently includes 30 companies from the FT500 2015 in the apparel and general retailing, extractives, and food and beverage industries. Over the coming months, Shift will increase the number of companies and the range of industries covered in the database, and will update companies’ disclosure in the database as they publish new reporting. The database is supported by Hermes Investment Management and includes research contributions from the International Clinic for the Defense of Human Rights (CIDDHU) at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), and Walden Asset Management.