The Business and Human Rights Research Centre publishes the first ranking of human rights performance for 98 companies

3 April 2017

The BHRRC has released the first of what promises to be a fascinating and rewarding ranking of major international corporations in terms of their human rights performance. For this first report the organisation has ranked 98 companies covering three sectors: agriculture, apparel and extractives. The plan is to increase coverage with time. The ranking is done using only publicly available information, and it is published in exemplary fashion: clearly and transparently.

The results are not impressive, though somewhat encouraging for Peru. The highest scores are in the 70-79% band, and 2 of the three that make this band are major investors in extractives in Peru: BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto (the third is Marks and Spencer). There is a bunch around the 40-49% mark, where we find Anglo American, Glencore and Freeport-McMoRan. Others of considerable interest to Peru, such as MMG, do not yet appear.

The methodology is well set out and sensible, covering six dimensions of human rights management. The most heavily weighted is ‘embedding respect and human rights due diligence’: BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto top the score. The weakest area generally is engagement with potentially affected stakeholders – communities and workers especially.

An area of particular interest for Peru is that of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Of the 41 extractives companies assessed, only one – again BHP Billiton - gets good marks for publicly indicating its commitment to the principle and publicly explaining how the practice is carried out (note that the report is not telling us about outcomes).

Over time this ranking should become a powerful tool for advocacy and for securing genuine improvements in company practice: good news, even if the relatively poor results are less good news. The summing up from the benchmark study is “most receive low scores”.

The report is entitled ‘Business and Human Rights Benchmark’ and is available at https://www.corporatebenchmark.org/sites/default/files/2017-03/CHRB_Findings_web_pages.pdf

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    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

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