RAFI Publishes 2013 Take Away Document and Next Steps for 2014

Jakarta, 16 April 2014 — Shift and Mazars, together with the HRRC, recapitulates in a ‘Take-Aways’ from RAFI Consultations in 2013 the key messages that the RAFI Project Team drew from the expert multi-stakeholder consultations it held in Jakarta, London and New York in October and November 2013, as well as the project workshops in Medellín and Bangkok, and the CSO meeting in Jakarta. The summaries of these consultations are available on RAFI’s web portal.

Through these meetings, the Project Team consulted with over 150 individuals from business, civil society, governments as well as legal, assurance, academic and other expert backgrounds, in addition to a wide range of bilateral consultations with individuals and organizations since June 2013.

The consultations informed the Project Team that there is value in reporting on processes to prevent and mitigate potential human rights impacts, as well as on actual impacts that have occurred and why, together with how they have been handled and remedied. Valuable insights had been gained in regards defining appropriate parameters for reporting. It was concluded that the frameworks should not be overly complex and that companies’ reports cannot be a panacea with regard to assessing companies’ human rights performance. A reporting framework should aim to elicit valuable, foundational information about a company’s performance. It should be a tool to improve the quality of those engagements, rather than trying to provide all the information that would result from those engagements.

Views varied widely in regards the merits of an assurance framework accompanying a reporting framework. A few stakeholders thought the assurance framework should be dropped; some felt it is an important addition, but could come second. Many in ASEAN would like to see the two frameworks developed in parallel. Overall, the idea that development of the reporting framework should start ahead of the assurance framework seemed acceptable to most. The Project Team realises that the provision of assurance in the field of human rights is particularly challenging. It cannot be meaningful if it is a tick-box exercise or a very short-term, 1-2 day engagement. It needs to extend beyond verification of the accuracy of what is reported to look also at its sufficiency and at the effectiveness of processes described.

The specific next steps envisaged are set out in a separate note, February 2014: Next Steps For The Project, Based On Consultations To Date. Moving forward, the project team intends to conduct a range of desk-based and interview-based research to help inform the drafting of the reporting framework. It will also produce public documents that would serve as basis for stakeholder consultations in April to June 2014. The project’s development in the months ahead will remain grounded in broad and deep consultations across different geographical areas, encompassing all stakeholder groups.

All views and comments are welcomed and can be sent to Anna Triponel at Shift (anna.triponel@shiftproject.org) or Bahtiar Manurung at Mazars (bahtiar@mazars.co.id).