FTSE4Good – New Human Rights Criteria
Thursday, 15th May 2003 at 1:05 pm
The global index provider FTSE Group has set a new, more stringent set of human rights criteria for the socially responsible index series called FTSE4Good. The change is part of its ongoing strategy to raise the standards for entry into the index series.
The new tougher criteria means companies will have to raise their human rights standards, beginning in September 2003, to qualify for the index series.
FTSE Group undertook a broad public human rights consultation during 2002, which was the first of its kind, with almost 200 responses from corporations, fund managers, non-government organisations and private investors. These responses formed the basis of the new criteria.
Companies operating in the Global Resource Sector must meet the higher human rights criteria by September 2003. Companies with significant involvement in so-called high-risk countries must meet higher human rights standards starting March 2004.
In addition to this, the FTSE4Good Advisory Committee intends to announce in March 2004 an implementation timetable for all companies, regardless of sector or geography, to have a basic human rights policy in place.
Overview of criteria for Human Rights policies:
Board responsibility for policies
Standards such as the UN Global Compact, the ILO core labour standards, SA8000 and the OECD Guidelines
Support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Guidelines on armed security guards
Respecting indigenous people’s rights
Overview of criteria for Human Rights management systems:
Implementation of the Human Rights policies and monitoring progress
Training for employees globally in its human rights policy
Consulting with independent local stakeholders in the countries of concern
The use of human rights impact assessments
Chris Marsden, Chair of the Amnesty International (UK) Business Group has welcomed the new FTSE4Good criteria and FTSE’s role in helping to put human rights on the business agenda.
Marsden says that clearly a lot of companies will have to work hard to meet these criteria.
Will Oulton, the Deputy Chief Executive of the FTSE Group says the enhancement to the human rights criteria for the FTSE4Good index series is the second major revision since it was launched in July 2001.
The environmental criteria were the first to be revised and following an extensive engagement program, the majority of companies made significant improvements to meet the criteria.
Oulton says FTSE is confident that by working closely with companies to help them understand the enhancements to the human rights criteria it will again see significant steps made to improve standards.
The FTSE Group is a world-leader in the creation and management of indices. For more information check out the website at www.ftse.com.