The UK government has recently pledged support to the introduction of a new worldwide Human Rights Benchmark that will rank the corporate human rights performance of international companies.

The Benchmark is led by 6 corporations including Aviva Investors, Calvert and the Institute for Human Rights. On behalf of the UK government, Business Minister Jo Swinson has promised to invest £80,000 in start-up funding for the creation of the project.

Over the next three years the Corporate Human Rights Steering Group will research the best methodology to rate companies’ performances. By the end of the three year period it will publish the results for 500 international companies from 4 key sectors: agriculture, ICT, apparel and extractives. It is hoped that the first companies will be able to track their own human rights performance by 2016.

The project is intended to create a positive competitive environment where companies are encouraged to think more seriously about their human rights performance. The results will increase transparency and provide a source of information for the public, investors and regulators. The Benchmark will highlight and reward good performance, challenge poor performance and ultimately strive to make global companies more accountable for their actions.

More information on this topic can be found here.