The methodology developed to assess companies’ human rights performance in our Corporate Human Rights Benchmark looks at their performance at a particular point in time. Accordingly, it does not consider or address major catastrophic events caused by companies which have severe negative impacts on peoples’ human rights. To ensure that the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark remains a robust and credible source of data, we developed a special process for assessing such companies.
When a company in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark has caused or contributed to a major catastrophic event that has severe negative human rights impacts, we may temporarily suspend the company and/or reduce their benchmark score, and assess whether they have taken appropriate remedial steps. We investigate whether and to what extent the company has taken short- and long-term steps to assess the causes of the event, to prevent similar episodes from occurring in the future. We also look at whether the company has and provided remedies to the affected stakeholders.
This year we assessed two companies – Rio Tinto and Vale – with this special process. Based on their score, these companies will be able to regain a percentage of their underlying score in the CHRB assessment. The events in question have caused severe negative impacts on the human rights of affected stakeholders. These impacts can never be fully repaired. In no way does this assessment intend to diminish the adversity suffered. Rather, this special process seeks to prompt companies to take appropriate immediate and longer-term remedial actions for and with affected stakeholders; and to do so transparently so that the wider business community can learn from them.