New Corporate Human Rights Benchmark

Published:  18 March, 2015

BOHS, The Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, has welcomed a new Corporate Human Rights Benchmark that will assess and rank the human rights performance of international companies, and urged employers to recognise worker health protection as a fundamental human rights issue in assessing their global supply chains.

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark is the first wide-scale project to rank companies on their human rights performance. A total of 500 of the top global companies from four key sectors – Agriculture, ICT, Apparel, and Extractives – will initially be researched and ranked.

The project was announced at the end of 2014 by an international group led by Aviva Investors. Jo Swinson, the business minister, subsequently confirmed the project would be financially backed by the British government, including £80,000 in start-up funding.

It is hoped that the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark will harness the competitive nature of global markets to drive better human rights performance, through developing a transparent, publicly available and credible benchmark.

Commenting on the plans, Mike Slater, president of BOHS, said: “Worker health protection is an international human rights issue and the statistics prove that this new project is greatly needed. Every 15 seconds, a worker somewhere in the world dies from a work-related accident or disease. This mean that every day, more than 6000 people die due to occupational accidents or work-related diseases – over 2.3 million deaths per year around the world – costing 4% of global gross domestic product each year. Yet the vast majority of this burden – a massive 86% - is the result of work-related diseases, with 14% due to workplace accidents. We therefore urge British employers to look at worker health and safety in assessing their international supply chains.”

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