Report

COVID-19 and Human Rights Study

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The coronavirus pandemic is one of the most severe crises of our time. The effects of COVID-19 and associated restrictions could be felt for decades. In these fast-changing and unprecedented times, decisions made by governments, the international community and the private sector are fundamental in shaping the trajectory of the pandemic and its impact on people worldwide.

Companies have a responsibility to respect the rights of workers and other stakeholders, in their operations and across their supply chains at all times. This is more essential than ever in the present climate, especially where the most vulnerable workers and communities are concerned.

That is why the World Benchmarking Alliance decided to supplement the 2020 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessment with a separate study, which considers how the same 229 companies have been impacted by, and have responded to, the increased human right risks and impacts associated with the COVID-19 crisis.

By carrying out this separate study, we wanted to explore the response of the private sector to COVID-19. The aim was to identify examples of best practice, where companies have demonstrably placed respect for human rights at the heart of their approach, as well as to highlight instances where companies may have been falling short and where increased accountability is therefore needed.

The COVID-19 and human rights study focuses on the following areas:

  • governance and policy commitment
  • human rights due diligence, with a focus on health and safety and livelihoods
  • purchasing decisions
  • remedy and grievance mechanisms.

Unlike the usual CHRB assessments, the COVID-19 study does not score or rank companies. Instead, it uses a scaling system to show where we identified positive company and sector-specific practices, and where we did not.

Explore the COVID-19 and human rights study data in excel format:

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