It’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.
This week’s post includes: a new report on the state of corporate human rights reporting; the passage of a shareholder resolution on climate change at Occidental Petroleum; and the latest Ministerial Declaration from the Labour and Employment Ministers of the G20.
- On May 10, Shift released a new report, Human Rights Reporting: Are Companies Telling Investors What They Need to Know, that analyzes the extent to which corporate human rights reporting is consistent with the expectations set forth in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. The report looks at recent human rights reports by 74 large multinational companies representing seven industry sectors. Notably, the report found that more than half of the companies did not specify in their reporting which human rights are most relevant to their operations.
- On May 10, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre announced the relaunch of its Modern Slavery Registry, a database of statements made by companies pursuant to the requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act. The registry currently includes 1975 statements by companies representing 27 industry sectors. The redesigned registry now includes functionality allowing companies to submit statements for inclusion.
- On May 12, the shareholders of Occidental Petroleum approved a resolution calling on the company to report on the potential business impacts of climate change, with consideration for the goals established by the 2015 Paris Agreement. The resolution, which was initiated by CalPERS, passed despite opposition from the company’s Board of Directors but with the support of major investors including the company’s largest shareholder, BlackRock Inc. A similar resolution will be considered at ExxonMobil’s upcoming shareholder meeting on May 31.
- On May 16, Microsoft Corporation and the United Nations announced that the two institutions had entered into a five-year partnership to develop technology intended to predict, analyze, and respond to situations around the world that may lead to significant human rights crises. The announcement included a commitment by the company to provide $5 million in funding for the joint endeavor.
- On May 18-19, the Labour and Employment Ministers of the G20 met in Germany following six months of engagement regarding decent work in global supply chains. The Ministerial Declaration issued at the conclusion of the meeting included commitments to take “immediate and effective measures” to eradicate modern slavery, forced labor, and human trafficking in global supply chains, citing Sustainable Development Goal 8.7. The Declaration also reaffirmed a collective commitment to the UN Guiding Principles and stated that the Ministers were committed to promoting due diligence and transparency in global supply chains in part by communicating clearly their expectations for business.
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