Update: Wespath Supports the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework
May 8, 2015
The launch of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework was announced on February 24, 2015 by the Shift Project (http://www.shiftproject.org/), an independent non-profit organization working to improve companies’ integration of human rights into business practices. The Reporting Framework—18 months in development—provides guidance for companies seeking to report on human rights issues. The Reporting Framework builds on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, and now widely recognized by companies and their investors as a valuable tool to manage human rights risks. The Reporting Framework is designed to help companies incorporate the UN Guiding Principles into their business practices by asking questions that draw attention to the process of human rights reporting.
Wespath encourages companies to formally adopt the Guiding Principles and incorporate them into their respective codes of conduct, from the standpoint that human rights issues pose significant risks to companies. This approach aligns with legislation adopted by General Conference in 2012.
A group of international investors including Wespath Investment Management and representing nearly $4 trillion in assets under management, issued a statement supporting the Reporting Framework, saying, “Meaningful disclosure of human rights performance can play a significant role in reducing a company’s human rights risks, contributing to a company’s competitive advantage, and strengthening its long-term financial stability.” The full text of the investor statement is available here.
John Ruggie, Shift Project board chairman and former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights, is the primary author of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. He has called the Reporting Framework, “a powerful tool to deepen internal conversations, identify gaps in performance and drive improvements in practice. [It] represents an indispensable contribution to the collective effort to embed the UN Guiding Principles into practice.”
Unilever, one of five companies already using the Reporting Framework, will issue the first Reporting Framework report later in 2015.
More information on the Reporting Framework is available here.