Consultations: SHIFT and MAZARs, together with the HRRC, hold second round of ASEAN regional consultations to discuss the “RAFI”

Jakarta/Bangkok, 22 November 2013 — In its second round of ASEAN consultations, SHIFT and MAZARs, together with the HRRC, conducted a series of meetings this week aimed at identifying key stakeholder concerns about developments in the Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative (RAFI).

In keeping with the global, consultative nature of the Initiative, the meetings were designed to canvass both the opinion of regional experts from a number of different sectors (private, governmental and nongovernmental) as well as to obtain insights from the broader participation of civil society groups in Jakarta and Bangkok. Participants in the meetings represented seven out of 10 ASEAN countries (nationals from Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Viet Nam were in attendance). The consultations followed on from meetings held by the project team in London and New York.

During this second round of meetings, participants from ASEAN countries identified several challenges and opportunities associated with refining RAFI. Of key concern to many participants was the extent to which the frameworks could be used by small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, ensuring stakeholder’s trust in company reporting in ASEAN was widely discussed. Nevertheless, several participants noted the benefit and relevance of the Initiative to ASEAN, particularly bearing mind obligations under Indonesia’s corporate law to communicate relevant information [1] and the Thai stock exchange’s guidelines with regard to Corporate Social Responsibility.

[1] Article 66 of Indonesia’s Corporate Law requires all limited liability corporations to communicate or disseminate information on any action taken to address business-related human rights impacts by including in their annual report and and all planning and budgeting pertaining to the fulfillment of their social and environmental responsibilities. However, the Law has been criticized for its lack of clarity with regard to what these responsibilities actually are. See our Baseline Survey on Business and Human Rights at p. 128 (Section 4.1.3).