Human rights due diligence [clear filter]
Wednesday, November 28

3:00pm CET

Toward meaningful corporate human rights reporting?
Organized by Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Brief description of the session:
What’s the problem with corporate reporting on human rights? Can companies realistically report on their human rights impacts and progress made?
Join business, civil society and reporting initiatives to consider what makes meaningful corporate human rights reporting and how we can get there. You will be invited to share your views and to think along on how key challenges can be solved.
Two companies will explain how they reported on human rights in their latest sustainability reports and will receive a critique on their report from a civil society expert.

Session objectives:
  • Identify what makes meaningful corporate human rights reporting from the perspectives of different stakeholders.
  • Identify key challenges in corporate human rights reporting and how they may be solved.

Key discussion questions:
  • Human rights issues continue to be under-reported and current reporting practice leaves much room for improvement. What are the main reasons for this? How can obstacles to reporting be overcome?
  • Current reporting focuses primarily on the commitment and process elements, but there’s very little reporting on outcomes and impacts. Can companies realistically report on their human rights impacts and progress made? What is the role of quantification and metrics?

Links to sustainability reports that will be discussed:
Format of the session:
  • A conversation between GRI, Shift and IIRC on how to achieve more meaningful corporate human rights reporting
  • Audience interaction
  • Presentation by Nestlé and Rio Tinto on their human rights reporting and critique by the Alliance for Corporate Transparency
  • Audience interaction

Background to the discussion:
The UNGPs call on business enterprises to communicate how they address their human rights impacts. Legal requirements to communicate on human rights due diligence are being introduced, such as the French corporate duty of vigilance law or the UK Modern Slavery Act.

Most of the world’s largest corporations issue non-financial or “sustainability” reports which can include human rights. Most of these reports use frameworks, predominantly the GRI Standards. However human rights issues continue to be under-reported and there is much room for improvement.

Recent studies by GRI, Shift and the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark indicate that although progress has been made since the launch of the UN Guiding Principles in 2011, corporate human rights reporting is not yet widespread and there’s much room for improvement. [1] [2] [3]

The July 2018 report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises highlights that disclosure on human rights due diligence is an area in which there is a significant gap between leading practice and the large majority of businesses. Reluctance to disclose information about human rights risks and mitigation efforts seems to be due in large part to perceived legal risks. [4] [5]

The report welcomes efforts underway to develop better indicators for evaluating performance of human rights due diligence, including (a) the work of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to explore further alignment of its Standards with the Guiding Principles, including how best to report on management approaches to due diligence; (b) work to explore the close relationship between integrated reporting and reporting in line with the Guiding Principles; and (c) a project by the non-profit organization Shift, to develop better ways of using information, metrics and indicators to evaluate respect for human rights by businesses.

The report further highlights the following core aspects of good practice: (a) clear recognition of what the risks to people are and (b) accurate descriptions of the due diligence processes that the business enterprise has in place to address specific risks.

This session will invite discussion on what is needed to increase and improve corporate human rights reporting and communication, including barriers to reporting and how these may be overcome, as well as how best to report on human rights due diligence and human rights impacts.

[1] GRI and Centro Vincular-PUCV, Shining a light on human rights: corporate human rights performance disclosure in the mining, energy and financial sectors, 2016.
[2] Corporate Human Right Benchmark, Key Findings 2018, 2018.
[3] Shift, Human Rights Reporting: Are companies telling investors what they need to know?, 2017.
[4] Working Group’s General Assembly report, A/73/163 (paragraphs 46-47 and 91)
[5] Companion note II to the Working Group’s 2018 report to the General Assembly (A/73/163) (pages 12-13)

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...

Marti Flacks

Deputy Director & Head of North America Office, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
avatar for Peter Paul van de Wijs

Peter Paul van de Wijs

Chief External Affairs Officer, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
As head of GRI’s External Affairs team, Peter Paul is responsible driving effective advocacy for GRI, for developing and implementing GRI’s global internal and external communications strategy and maintaining the external relations.Peter Paul has over 20 years of professional... Read More →

avatar for Filip Gregor

Filip Gregor

Purpose of the Corporation Project, Frank Bold
Filip Gregor represents Frank Bold in the Steering Group of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice. Filip co-founded and helps to run the Purpose of the Corporation Project, a strategic open-source platform for a debate on the role of the corporation in society and the future... Read More →
avatar for Richard Howitt

Richard Howitt

CEO, International Integrated Reporting Council
Richard Howitt is Chief Executive Officer of the International Integrated Reporting Council. As such he is spearheading the adoption of Integrated Reporting globally and is a major thought-leader in international debates on good corporate governance, shifting investment to the long-term... Read More →

Dwight Justice

OECD Watch
avatar for Caroline Rees

Caroline Rees

President, Shift
Caroline Rees is President and Co-Founder of Shift. Shift is a non-profit mission-driven organization that works across all continents and sectors to challenge assumptions, push boundaries, and redefine corporate practice, in order to build a world where business gets done with respect... Read More →
avatar for Yann Wyss

Yann Wyss

Senior Manager, Social Impact, Nestlé
Yann Wyss joined Nestlé in 2011 as a human rights expert to develop and implement Nestlé’s Human Rights Due Diligence Program across the company’s operations and supply chain. He started his career in the Swiss Foreign Ministry, where he was actively involved in the creation... Read More →
avatar for Vanessa Zimmerman

Vanessa Zimmerman

Chief Executive Officer, Pillar Two
Vanessa is a recognised global and domestic corporate sustainability expert focusing on human rights.Originally an anti-trust lawyer, Vanessa specialised in business and human rights, working for five years as a Legal Advisor to the UN Special Representative on Business and Human... Read More →

Wednesday November 28, 2018 3:00pm - 4:45pm CET
Room XXI

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