My work on investment is part of examining the role of states in regulating and adjudicating corporate activities vis-à-vis human rights, as requested in my initial mandate. All throughout this examination I have found a lack of policy coherence within and among states in dealing with business and human rights issues. The domain of human rights policy tends to be segregated within its own conceptual and (typically weak) institutional box—kept apart from, or heavily discounted in, other policy domains that shape business practices, including commercial policy, corporate law and securities regulation. Investment policy also fits into that list.
As we’ve seen in a number of recent cases, the investment regime can have a significant impact on human rights issues. Our drawing attention to this nexus has engaged constituencies that have not generally been active in business and human rights before—such as private law firms, international organisations like UN Commission on International Trade Law, the International Finance Corporation, and even civil society organizations like IISD itself. (From An interview with Professor John Ruggie, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Business & Human Rights, Investment Treaty News, October 1, 2008).
Recently the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) moved to bring a measure of coherence between the private governance forms of reporting and disclosure and public governance values of international public soft law frameworks is what may become a useful template for other soft law systems.
OECD-GRI announce partnership to help multinational companies operate responsibly Companies worldwide will be given greater guidance and support on how to conduct their business responsibly and report on their sustainability performance thanks to a partnership
between the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the OECD.
This partnership will help companies make greater use of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
and the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework
, bringing increased coherence and consistency to their efforts to act more responsibly and be more transparent about their sustainability. The GRI Framework provides guidance on how to measure sustainability performance, and the OECD Guidelines provide a benchmark to assess such performance. Both are based on and promote the same internationally agreed standards and principles for responsible business conduct, including social and human rights and economic and environmental matters.
Sustainability reports based on the GRI Framework can be used to demonstrate organizational commitment to sustainable development, to compare organizational performance over time, and to measure organizational performance with respect to laws, norms, standards and voluntary initiatives.
GRI promotes a standardized approach to reporting to stimulate demand for sustainability information – benefitting both reporting organizations and report users. (From GRI, About GRI, Benefits of GRI Reporting)
developed through a process of systematic, consensus-seeking dialogue with a large network of individuals from over 60 countries, representing stakeholder groups including business, civil society, academia, labor and other professional institutions. The process is open, inclusive and takes a global perspective on the growing understanding of good reporting on key sustainability issues.
The Framework is continuously improved and expanded as knowledge of sustainability issues evolve and the needs of report makers and users change.
The Guidelines should be used as the basis for all reporting. They are the foundation upon which all other reporting guidance is based, and outline core content for reporting that is broadly relevant to all organizations regardless of size, sector, or location. The Guidelines contain principles and guidance as well as standard disclosures (including indicators) to outline a framework that organizations can voluntarily, flexibly, and incrementally, adopt.
Protocols are the "recipe" behind each indicator in the Guidelines and include definitions for key terms in the indicator, compilation methodologies, intended scope of the indicator, and other technical references.
Sector Supplements respond to the limits of a one-size-fits-all approach and capture the relevant issues essential to sustainability reporting in a specific sector, which may not appear in the GRI Guidelines.
Sector Supplements are a version of the GRI Guidelines tailored for a sector. A Sector Supplement contains integrated commentary and new Performance Indicators for the sector, ensuring that sustainability reports cover the sector’s key issues.
Like all GRI products, the Reporting Framework is continuously improved as experience evolves and better practices emerge.
The core Guidelines are in their third generation (“G3”) and were released in October 2006 following a three year, innovative development period that engaged more than three thousand individuals from diverse sectors, worldwide. (From GRI, What is the GRI Reporting Framework?, How is the Framework Developed?).