2019 CHRB Shows Most Businesses Failing on Human Rights

Nine out of ten global companies fail in their human rights work throughout their supply chain, according to Corporate Human Rights Benchmark’s (CHRB) latest report. The alarmingly low scores revealed in the 2019 benchmark demonstrate how the biggest global companies across four high-risk sectors – apparel, food and beverage, extractive and tech manufacture – are failing to meet basic corporate human rights expectations. Beloved brands, such as Starbucks, Philipps, and Ralph Lauren, all showed poor performance and minimal or none engagement for change.

“Transparency needs to improve – particularly for actual impacts and company practices”
                                                                                                                                                                                          - CHRB

What investors are demanding

As a result of the poor results, investors are pressuring companies to better identify and assess human rights risks in their own operations, in their business relationships, and in their supply chain. Investors for Human Rights (IFHR), a collective action platform for responsible investments which manages capital over $ 4.5 trillion, have published a letter demanding companies to publicly communicate what actions will be made, as well what strategies will be used to track human right risks in the value chain. The set time period for these alterations is this June, just in time for the 2020 Benchmark to begin. The letter is signed by various investors and among them are the Swedish funds AP1, AP2, AP3 Third Swedish National Pension, AP4 - Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, Nordea and Öhman Fonder.

Read the letter and all of IFHR’s demands here.

Key Findings

The key findings of the 2019 report show steady but too slow improvements over three years. Though leading companies Adidas, Rio Tinto and Unilever show tangible improvements, only Adidas of a total of 200 companies scored over 80% in its human rights work. The average score between all four sectors is 24%, which is remarkably low. The sector with the highest ranked scores is extractives, with an average score of not more than 29%, while ICT Manufacturing performed the lowest with an average of 17.8%. The findings indicate that companies, investors and stakeholders need to act with urgency.

Some of the improvements made, however, are a result of more companies in all four sectors working on their transparency. Companies are beginning to publicly disclose information that hasn’t been publicly discussed before. Therefore, the CHRB is calling on investors, media, and stakeholders to keep pushing the importance of transparency, as it has proven to create positive change.

Shifting to transparency

Companies that are transparent with their performance, both in-house and in their supply chain, will not only rank higher in research by CHRB, but will also meet the expectations and demands of customers, investors, and critical stakeholders.

Therefore, transparency is a powerful tool when communicating company activities. This is best achieved through digital technologies that help collect data, and in so doing, enhance the credibility and quality of a company’s external communication.

Increase your supply chain transparency and visibility

Worldfavor offers its customers a digital space to collaborate, share, and access sustainability information – internally and throughout the entire value chain. Worldfavor’s global network makes it possible to share data with suppliers, subsidiaries, factories, etc. all in one place. By streamlining these efforts, your business gains supply chain transparency and traceability, making it easier to identify human rights risks, or other risks, such as social, governance, or environmental. Simply put, our solutions enable our customers to understand their full impact and keep track of sustainability data. Curious to learn more? Check out how Worldfavor supports multi-tier supply chain transparency in this webinar.

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