Corporate Responsibility Leadership

Business has a vital role to play in the transition to a more sustainable world. Increasingly all companies recognise the necessity of operating not only economically but also in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.

Why are we doing this?

One of our key areas of work revolves around improving corporate responsibility practices based on our unique understanding of ethical business. In order to move towards a more sustainable economy, and world, the role of corporations is crucial. Increasingly, businesses themselves have recognised that social and environmental issues such as growing inequality, climate change and water scarcity are threats to virtually any business model.  Governments, civil society and the private sector need to work together if we are to overcome these problems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  

What are we doing to achieve this?

Our work to improve corporate responsibility best practice is focussed around two specific areas and projects related to each of these. The first is business and human rights with the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark and the second is due diligence in relation to occupied lands with the Business in Occupied Lands project. 

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark 

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) is a UK based not for profit, supported by a mix of investors, civil society organisations and European governments. It produces in-depth assessments and rankings of how well companies in high-risk sectors perform on human rights issues. CHRB aims to harness the competitive nature of the markets to drive better corporate human rights performance, by providing companies, investors, consumers, governments and civil society with the information to make better decisions on the allocation of capital, purchasing, procurement, legislation and campaigns. We are a CHRB research partner and we coordinate all of the other researchers involved in the project. We are heavily involved in the CHRB with responsibility for the operational side of the research: coordinating the researchers, allocating resources, ensuring the methodology is consistently applied across all companies and just generally ensuring the project runs smoothly and within the time allocated. 

Business in Occupied Lands 

Building on our 30-year history of providing free and objective information on ethical finance and corporate activity to the public is our other corporate responsibility-linked project: conducting research into corporate activity in Crimea and Palestine. We have a history of supporting projects which study the interplay between corporate activity and conflict in Sudan and Burma/Myanmar. International law recognizes occupation as a form of conflict, and occupying governments use economic activity to help secure and maintain their control of territory.  

The result is the EIRIS Foundation’s online database of the companies active in Crimea and Palestine. These databases are presented in the context of information and analysis about the territories’ international trade policies. This project allows businesses, civil society, media and the investor community access to objective and comprehensive information about corporate operations in two illegally-administered territories. Access to such objective and independent research increases transparency, empowers investors and enhances global knowledge and understanding about investment in occupied territories. 

Other useful resources:

World Benchmarking Alliance: The WBA seeks to generate a movement around increasing the private sector’s impact towards a sustainable future for all. In 2015, the United Nations developed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help guide us. The WBA is now working to incentivise and accelerate companies’ efforts towards achieving these goals. The EIRIS Foundation is a WBA ally.  

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