FIBS Focus Group on Human Rights and Business – network meeting in Finland

September 2019

On September 11th, the FIBS Focus Group on Human Rights and Business, a network hosted by FIBS and facilitated by Enact, had its third meeting of the year with the theme of Human Rights Reporting. FIBS is Finland’s leading provider of sustainable business and business expertise.

The day was kicked off by discussing drivers to report and what obstacles different types of organisations face from internal and external factors when it comes to reporting. Are you driven by legislative requirements, brand and reputation, or social license to operate? We also discussed the benefits of reporting that could be summarised in 4 “P’s”:

  • Process – reporting efforts can make you both define KPI’s and track performance
  • People – great way of engaging people internally
  • Preparedness – if things go unplanned, you are more equipped to handle situations
  • Promotion – show externally and internally that you take Human Rights seriously

Different mandatory and voluntary non-financial reporting frameworks were discussed from the UK Modern Slavery Act and various EU directives to GRI and the UN Global Compact, with a large focus on the Recommendations of the GRI Technical Committee on Human Rights Disclosures project that is currently in the works. Everybody was in favour of as much integration between the frameworks as possible or ultimately the possibility of using just one framework!

The day concluded with two external visitors, Antti Savilaakso from Auriel Capital Ltd. and Tytti Nähi from Fair Trade, representing the “responsible investor” and NGO perspective to human rights reporting. The message was clear: concentrate on the salient issues and don’t forget to give the reader context and concrete cases.

How to get started with your Human Rights reporting:

  1. Establish policy & show commitment
  2. Define salient issues and explain the process how you came up with these!
  3. Express how you manage salient issues
  4. Track performance
  5. Don’t forget about remedy