This collaborative project aims to develop better ways of using information, metrics and indicators to evaluate business respect for human rights. It is founded in an open process of shared research, dialogue and co-creation.
PARTNERS: Regional Partners: The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, the ASEAN CSR Network and the Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business; Funders: Humanity United and Norges Bank Investment Management
Everyone who is trying to embed respect and dignity for vulnerable people at the core of how business gets done needs to be able to assess what is working and what isn’t. This enables markets and societies to recognize, reward and incentivize those practices that make a real difference in the lives of affected people. The thoughtful use of qualitative and quantitative data are essential to make this happen.
At present, however, much of the information on which companies’ human rights performance – and, by extension, their broader “social” performance – is assessed, is at best superficial and at worst misleading. This distorts how companies allocate their resources and it leads markets (and others) to reward at times poor or inadequate behaviors, while leading practice can go unrecognized and under-supported.
As a result of these shortcomings in practice, the outcomes for those individuals, groups and communities most vulnerable to the impacts of business are improving far slower than they should, and in some cases are being made worse.
At the same time, a growing number of innovators are lighting the path to better solutions. New approaches to measuring how business decisions impact people are being quietly explored within companies and piloted through collaborations with trade unions and civil society. New methods to hear and learn from the people who are themselves impacted by business are being developed and tested. New areas of research are bringing to light data about impacts that was not previously accessible, and long-standing areas of research and practice offer us pertinent lessons – from the development, health and safety, and change management fields, among others.
There is now a critical challenge and opportunity to develop better ways to measure business respect for human rights. The Valuing Respect project is a three-year collaboration led by Shift in response to that need.
Watch Shift's President Caroline Rees speaking on the value of doing business with respect for human rights, at the opening of the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York City on January 29, 2018.
Shift is delighted to be joined by three regional partners in this project: the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, the ASEAN CSR Network and the Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business. Shift and regional partners are grateful to Humanity United for providing the project with seed funding, and to Norges Bank Investment Management for a three-year grant in support of this work.
The project’s ultimate aim is to support everyone, including investors, civil society, business leaders and policy makers, to use metrics and indicators in ways that effectively drive business respect for human rights and make a real, positive difference to people’s lives.
We invite everyone with an idea, a challenge, a question or an interest in this work to connect with us and join the conversation. Please contact:
Mark Hodge, Senior Associate, Shift: mark.hodge[at]shiftproject.org
Caroline Rees, President, Shift: caroline.rees[at]shiftproject.org