Global Frameworks for Human Rights Reporting and Assurance
Mazars is the joint lead partner in developing public, global frameworks for how companies can report on their respect for Human Rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and also provides guidance to human rights assurance providers for how to assure such reports.
Mazars, together with the non-profit organization Shift and The Human Rights Centre for the ASEAN countries, are co-leading the Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative (RAFI). This initiative incorporates the drafting of two framworks; one for companies to report on their compliance with the UNGPs and one for assurance providers on how to provide assurance on these reports.
Such frameworks will give greater understanding to companies on how to report on their compliance and to initiate a process of continual improvement; further, they will allow external auditors, specializing in human rights, to conclude whether corporate reporting is a fair and balanced representation of how aligned the company’s policies and processes are with the UNGPs.
Good intentions and politically correct statements are no longer enough. Evidence of performance and a fair understanding of the impacts operations of the company can cause on society is required. An important issue is that companies today need to actively manage the risks to their reputation and their brands. If they are not able to build a bridge between their legal compliance and their moral compliance within the human rights area then that company has not addressed a key risk.
The UN human rights framework "protect, respect and remedy" describes what companies must do to respect human rights in their daily operations. The principles tell how businesses can know and show that they respect human rights in practice. But there is not yet a widely accepted process for them to demonstrate whether their policies and processes are actually aligned with the Guiding Principles in reality.
In 2013, the UN working group for business and human rights provided its formal support for RAFI. Mazars, as the joint leader in the working group, is able to bring its internationally recognised auditing skills and its understanding of global business. From Mazars Denmark, Managing Partner Pia Lund Lillebaek is in close contact with the working group and is promoting RAFI within Denmark.
During the summer of 2013, the RAFI received comments and suggestions on the work to date and the areas that are being addressed from different stakeholders. This coming year will see further consultation with stakeholders. It is anticipated that draft frameworks will be published within two years.