Step Five: Ensure the company reports on its salient, human rights risks and meets regulatory reporting requirements

Advice and Guidance

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The UN Guiding Principles make clear that companies should report on how they address severe human rights risks, that is, their salient human rights issues. The Guiding Principles enable companies to publicly explain how they meet their commitment to respect human rights to a wide range of stakeholders in a coherent narrative.

Reporting enables:

  • the company to publicly explain how it meets its commitment to respect human rights to a wide range of stakeholders in a coherent narrative
  • the company to comply with regulatory reporting requirements and to demonstrate that it is taking reasonable steps to address human rights risks
  • stakeholders to evaluate how well the company understands and manages human rights risks and demonstrates that its policy commitment is reflected in practice, and
  • investors, business partners and employees to identify the company as an investment/ partner/employer of choice.

A company can choose to report on its salient human rights issues in its annual report, sustainability report or in a stand-alone document. Whatever form the reporting takes, it should be easy for stakeholders to find on the company website and written in a manner that is accessible to all readers.

To meet the UN Guiding Principles, the company’s human rights reporting should:

  • focus on its salient human rights issues and explain why and how it has determined this focus
  • show how its commitment to human rights has been practically implemented across its business practices
  • discuss how the company is tackling particular human rights challenges and provide clear and relevant examples demonstrating how its actions are influencing human rights outcomes, and
  • include performance indicators or other metrics that offer evidence of progress over time.

The UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework offers a good starting point for how companies should report and manage their salient human rights issues. A summary of UK statutory reporting requirements can be found on the next page.

Last updated: 27 Aug 2019