The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark will start to bring accountability to companies around Human Rights

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being present at the learn of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) - quite a historic event for many reasons.

In 2008, John Ruggie proposed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights around the three pillars of: protect, respect and remedy. And since their endorsement in 2011 there's been increasing focus and pressure on companies to improve their work around Human Rights. Yesterday marked a significant step as investors, NGOs and other stakeholders can now see which companies perform best within the Extractives, Apparel and Agricultural sector around Human Rights. There's also detailed information on where they need to improve or where there's "blind spots".

Mark Wilson, CEO of Aviva, lead the opening keynote speech and described the CHRB as the beginning of something that will bring accountability to companies around the Human Rights.

Tables and benchmarks bring an air of competitiveness and there was a sense that over the coming years companies will work to be a top performer in their industry - and thus improve their work around Corporate Human Rights.

Yesterday was the first iteration of the Benchmark and, whilst only approx 50% of the companies engaged in providing data and information to the Benchmark, a few companies should be lauded for scoring above 50% for their efforts around Human Rights:

  • Extractives: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto

  • Apparel: Marks and Spencer, Adidas

  • Agriculture: Unilever, Nestle (and Marks and Spencer)

We will be publishing more detailed analysis around CHRB's launch later this week. Please do keep a look out on for more detailed analysis and commentary.


At Ethical Corporation we're looking to take a focused approach in helping businesses understand and tackle Corporate Human Rights issues. At our Responsible Business Summit Europe we have two sessions that will look to tackle key challenges:

KEYNOTE: Human Rights Keynote: The [UK] Modern Slavery Act reordered priorities for many. How are leading corporations responding?

The legislation framed the challenge, but being compliant isn’t enough. How to recognise and force remedy to human rights challenges in your direct sphere of influence...and beyond.

Speakers include:

  • Mark Goldring, CEO, Oxfam

  • Richard Pennycook, CEO, The Cooperative

  • John Morrison, Chief Executive, Institute for Human Rights and Business

  • Sarah Carpenter, Business and Human Rights Analyst, Assent Compliance


2-HOUR WORKSHOP: Human rights – meeting new legislation after UK Modern Slavery Act

How to identify supply chain risk beyond the 1st tier. How business can go beyond compliance to make a real impact

  • Paul Gerrard, Group Policy Director, The Cooperative

  • Bennett Freeman, Chair of the advisory board, Global Witness

  • Sarah Carpenter, Business and Human Rights Analyst, Assent Compliance

For more information about the event visit here

In July we will be publishing a 20-page report in our digital magazine that focuses on Human Rights.

This management report will review the evolving legal framework and whether industry-wide collaborative efforts such as in the electronics industry are sufficient to meet the challenge. One chapter will focus on the growing efforts by Chinese companies to tackle labour abuse in markets such as Myanmar, where the entry of western companies has forced a change of tack. Finally, there will be a focus on how free and prior informed consent is rising up the agenda for companies. For more information about what's coming up in our magazine in 2017 visit here

If you would like to learn more about our work or would like to be involved in our events or feature report please do get in touch