A New Tracker for Corporate Human Rights

Labor News

Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal by Mara Lemos Stein on March 20, 2017.

Global companies continue to grapple with issues of human rights across their operations, so in the spirit of creating a race to the top, some investors and non-profit organizations just launched a benchmark to help shape corporate policies and responses in this area. Based on the inaugural mark-up, any help should be welcome.

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, a collaborative of pension fund managers, socially-minded investors and non-profit groups, looked at 98 large companies in the agricultural products, apparel and extractive industries and scored them on 100 human rights indicators. In what the group said is “an uncomfortable finding,” all but six companies researched scored under 50% overall, and only 18 of them had scores above 40%. The average score “is a mere 28.7%,” the CHRB report said. “There is clearly no perfect company or industry in human rights terms, and no scope for complacency anywhere,” said Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, in the foreword. “However, it is clear that some are trying much harder than others and we have identified clear leaders and laggards.” At the top of the heap, with scores between 60%-69%, are BHP Billiton PLC, retailer Marks & Spencer & Spencer Group PLC, and Rio Tinto Nine companies scored at the lowest rung below 10%, and they included Coal India, Sinopec, Kohl’s Corp. and Macy’s Inc. …

WSJ 3/20

About Jeffrey Burman 2679 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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