Mazars and Shift put human rights at the heart of corporate governance debate

“Today, any company that wishes to demonstrate either its own sustainability or its contribution to sustainable development, must show how it is driving respect for human rights across its operations and value chains. Independent assurance has a vital role to play in enhancing the credibility of what the company’s Board is told - and tells others - about its risks and performance.” - Professor John Ruggie, author of the UN Guiding Principles

The UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework Assurance Guidance provides companies a clear direction on how to assess their human rights credentials in line with international standards, helping to strengthen human rights performance and create long-term value for the business.

Developed in partnership with Mazars and Shift, the leading business and human rights non-profit organisation, the guidance helps internal auditors to assure companies’ human rights performance, and supports external assurance providers as they oversee the assurance of companies’ human rights reporting.

Richard Karmel, Head of Human Rights Services at Mazars, said: “The EU now requires company boards of all EU public companies with over 500 employees to know how their organisations are identifying and addressing risks to human rights. Their investors, their customers and their employees have a right to know about the progress they are making: it is no longer enough to say “I wasn’t aware.”

“Such demands make internal audit and external audit assurance functions more important than ever. Importantly, the Global and Chartered Institutes of Internal Auditors have given full backing to this Guidance. As professional advisers, we can no longer skirt around the issue of human rights, but must instead integrate it effectively within our professional skill-sets: this Guidance helps make that possible.”

The Assurance Framework complements the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, the world’s first comprehensive guidance for companies to report on how they respect human rights and also developed in partnership between Shift and Mazars.

Since the launch in 2015, the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework has been embraced by leading companies, governments, investors and civil society organisations as a critical tool to help companies improve their human rights risk management, and show greater transparency and accountability. It has been formally recommended by several western governments in guidance to companies. Leading businesses including Unilever, Citi, Ericsson,

H & M and Microsoft have publically stated that it has guided them in their internal risk management and reporting.

The full guidance and supporting documents can be downloaded from  – www.ungpreporting.org/assurance

 

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