Business & Human Rights
In the past twenty years, business initiatives to respect human rights has risen remarkably. Today, more than two-thirds of the fifty largest companies in the world have a specific human rights policy.
This trend has been sparked by a few significant catalysts:
- The landmark 2011 endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the global authoritative standard on the business responsibility to protect human rights – a framework for business to measure their human rights impact and basis for accountability.
- Introduction of mandatory regulation pertaining to modern slavery and human trafficking, most notably the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act, the US Federal Acquisition Regulation, the 2017 French Duty of Vigilance Law, and the ILO Forced Labour Protocol. All of these, together with the 2016 EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, as well as forthcoming regulations in other countries, have served to strengthen transparency in supply chains regarding some of the most egregious abuses of human rights.
- NGO initiatives, including the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre’s assessment report on modern slavery in leading business, the sector benchmarks published by the Know The Chain coalition, and others. These have sought to clarify civil society expectations and encourage continuous improvement and elimination of the worst abuses.
In a world more interconnected through trade, technology and travel, the public expects businesses to be aware of their human rights impacts. But equally there is an understanding that the private sector can be a driver for positive change. We work with our clients to help them meet these growing and changing expectations with integrity.
Our expertise covers every level of the development and implementation of a human rights strategy. Alongside our responsible sourcing services, we offer advice on the design of ethical trading strategies, auditing programmes, root cause analysis, emergency response, remediation of critical issues and internal and external communications. We do this through:
Understanding human rights risks.
We carry out risk assessments that help to focus and prioritise the risks material to your operations. Whether conducting a horizon scan of your industry, establishing an understanding of the regulatory landscape or a mapping of your supply chain – we will identify the best way to generate meaningful insights. Our team combines intellectual rigour and expert knowledge to support you in focusing on where you can make the biggest difference.
Embedding human rights throughout your business.
Whether implementing insights into tangible actions or building effective management systems – Sancroft can support your efforts. As your strategic partner, we offer effective ethical trade solutions including supplier engagement, remediation and grievance mechanisms and auditing programmes. We are experienced in building holistic programmes such as due diligence processes, policy development and stakeholder engagement.
Reporting on human rights.
If you are looking to report your efforts in line with international reporting frameworks such as the UNGPs, the GRI or need advice on your Modern Slavery Statement, we can support you through this process. Our expertise at the intersection of sustainability strategy and human rights gives us unique ability to build robust reporting mechanisms that help you establish and maintain momentum.
Driving the human rights discussion.
In more than two decades, we have seen the dialogue on human rights and business evolve. We can support our clients in driving this conversation further. We host events and discussion forums and hone our insights into industry best practice. We convene and participate in stakeholder groups and advisory panels which help clients to successfully tackle challenges in the field of sustainability and human rights.
Benefits for your business
Engaging with us in the area of business and human rights will enable your business to:
- Develop a comprehensive understanding of human rights in the context of your own business operations
- Respond to issues and challenges with integrity, maintaining resilience in your operations
- Communicate your efforts to stakeholders in a compelling and engaging way
- Demonstrate how the private sector can be catalyst for positive change
Eliminating Modern Slavery in Public Procurement
Sancroft and Tussell have produced a second edition of the report: Eliminating Modern Slavery in Public Procurement. The Sancroft-Tussell reports examine the modern slavery reporting of central government’s top 100 suppliers and has for the second time running has found that almost a third of government suppliers are non-compliant with the requirement of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The report includes:
- A review of how central government’s top 100 suppliers are identifying, managing and eliminating modern slavery risk in their operations and supply chains.
- A deep-dive of how companies are using performance indicators to demonstrate commitment and progress.
- Key drivers for both non-compliance and good practice.
- Practical guidance for business to develop better statements .
- Recommendations for government to improve legislation that levels the playing field and enables business to act.
Sancroft supported a major British financial institution to respond credibly and strategically to the requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA). A four-step process was developed and followed to create a robust MSA statement for the bank. This included an assessment and gap analysis of the company’s existing policies and processes against the Act’s reporting criteria, and engagement with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that multiple perspectives were considered and incorporated. Using content gathered through document review and stakeholder engagement, we drafted an industry-aligned statement and provided recommendations for areas of improvement ahead of the bank’s next MSA statement.
In parallel, Sancroft supported the bank to develop its wider human rights approach. This included a competitor benchmark and the development of a Human Rights Policy Statement. This Policy Statement outlines the bank’s approach to human rights, and the policies and processes in place to mitigate risks.
We are pleased to be providing ongoing support to the bank in its approach to human rights and modern slavery.