Unilever Collaborates on Human Rights Reporting Initiative
8 October 2014 at 9:51 am
Global food and personal products giant Unilever has joined forces with business and human rights Not for Profit, Shift to trial the Human Rights Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative (RAFI).
RAFI is a global initiative to promote transparency in how companies meet their responsibility to respect human rights.
RAFI says it will develop a twin set of publicly available frameworks, based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. One framework will focus on what good corporate reporting of human rights performance looks like; the other on what good assurance of such reporting would involve.
The frameworks are being developed through extensive multi-stakeholder consultations held in various countries around the world. A draft of the reporting framework will be available for comment and consultation in November 2014.
Unilever says it will work with Shift to conduct the first pilot of the draft reporting framework in 2014-2015.
“This framework will inform how Unilever reports on its on-going efforts to implement the corporate responsibility to respect human rights,” Global Vice President for Social Impact at Unilever, Marcela Manubens said.
“Unilever’s experience with the framework will, in turn, inform the framework’s further development, prior to its finalization at the end of 2015.
“Upholding human rights is the foundation of a healthy society and sustainable business. Respecting the rights of those on whom we depend, and those living in the communities around us, is at the heart of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
“The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have been instrumental in bringing clarity and transparency to the role of business in respecting human rights.”
Caroline Rees of Shift said the pilot marks a crucial step in the evolution of the RAFI Frameworks.
“The Reporting Framework is being developed through extensive public consultations, with companies, investors, civil society organisations and governments,” Rees said.
“This is crucial in ensuring it responds to both business realities and the needs of those who read company reports. But everyone will need to see how the framework works in practice before we can be sure it meets its objectives.”
RAFI is supported by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights and overseen by an Eminent Persons Group co-chaired by Prof. John Ruggie, author of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and Marzuki Darusman, Executive Director of the Human Rights Resource Centre in ASEAN.
The project is facilitated by Shift, an independent, Not for Profit centre for business and human rights practice, and Mazars, a global audit and advisory firm, in liaison with the Human Rights Resource Centre for ASEAN.
The pilot with Unilever will be the first, with others planned for 2015. Information on RAFI can be found on the project’s portal here.
The Guiding Principles set out:
The duty of states to protect human rights from abuse by third parties, including business;
The responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights, meaning not to infringe on the human rights of others and to address any human rights impacts with which they are involved, and
The need for more effective remedy for the victims of corporate-related human rights abuses.
For further information on the UN Guiding Principles see: http://business-humanrights.org/en/un-guiding-principles
Unilever is one of the world’s largest suppliers of food, home and personal care products with sales in over 190 countries.