Concluding Report on Business and Human Rights: Social Auditing and Compliance Standards – A Research Team Submission

Jakarta, 7 July 2014 — The Human Rights Resource Centre (HRRC) announces the conclusion of a research project on a potential set of standards, aimed at strengthening the use of the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) by business enterprises. The UNGP was unanimously adopted by the Human Rights Council on 6 June 2011. An authoritative global standard was thus set that defines the respective roles of governments and business in ensuring governments’ responsibility to protect, business entities’ responsibility to respect human rights, and victims’ rights for redress.

The research examined the potential for a set of standards – known as the Business and Human Rights International Standard for Certification (BHRISC) 2011 – as a tool that businesses might potentially use as a standard to align their operations with the UNGP and comply with other international human rights norms and best practices. The standard was developed mainly by PT Moores Rowland Indonesia (a private auditing and consulting firm in Indonesia which is familiar with the issues of business and human rights), from an initiative by the HRRC. The development of BHRISC 2011 is premised on the idea that communities and the general public require a company’s human rights record to be reliably accounted for and independently assessed. The researchers also considered stakeholders’ concerns over certification schemes more generally, in light of lessons learned from previous schemes.

The HRRC is an independent, not-for-profit research centre focusing on all aspects of human rights. It seeks to foster greater understanding and awareness of the UNGP within ASEAN, as well as globally, and to strengthen research in the application of the UNGP in the region. While the HRRC itself will not conduct nor be involved in any certification activities, it is committed to further research on regional practices for protecting and promoting human rights.

The project on BHRISC 2011 includes components on the following human rights aspects of business activities:

1.     Developing a Human Rights Management System

2.     Impacts on a Business Enterprise’s and Supply Chain’s Workers

A.   Impacts on Business Enterprise’s WorkersForced Labour

       – Child Labour and Young Workers

       – Conditions of Employment and Work

       – Non-discrimination Freedom of Association

       – Workplace Health and Safety 

B.   Impacts on a Business Enterprise Supplier’s Workers

3.     Impacts on Local Communities and the General Public

       – Land management

       – Environmental Management

4.     Impacts Related to Products and Services

5.     Impacts Related to Security

The HRRC team has concluded its report and submitted its recommendation (available here) to the HRRC Governing Board.  The HRRC will undertake no further research, or certification activities, of any kind until its Governing Board has fully considered the results and recommendations of the current research report in the context of the programmatic priorities of the HRRC.  Interested parties can direct their enquiries on BHRISC 2011 to