A new report on human rights from Unilever sets high standards for other multinationals to follow and shows the hard work required to make progress on human rights
It’s no easy thing to grapple with the huge and complex issue of human rights. As Unilever itself says, its “first of its kind” Enhancing Livelihoods, Advancing Human Rights report assesses some of the challenges the company (and many companies of its size and global status) face when trying to balance human rights with economic imperatives.
Unilever used the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (UNGP) on human rights to create this report, saying that now is a fitting time to further the discussion on human rights, in advance of climate meetings in Paris in December and with the anticipated effects climate change will have on the poorest communities in the world.
While Unilever is a “first adopter” of the UNGP Framework, other companies are getting ready to follow: Swiss food group Nestlé, telecoms giant Ericsson, US mining group Newmount, Swedish fashion retailer H&M, and Dutch bank ABN-Amro are all working on reporting, and the authors of the guidelines expect many others to follow. This surge in reporting is in part spurred by a European Union directive from October 2014 that requires that around 6,000 large and listed European companies start disclosing non-financial information, including human rights performance, by 2017.