Firms are offered KPIs for conflict zones codeOctober 2008
Companies that have signed up to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights have been given 11 key performance indicators (KPIs) against which they can measure themselves.
The KPIs will require companies to collect figures on, among other things, the extent of staff and private security contractor training on human rights, details of mechanisms for monitoring security forces’ conduct, and evidence of record-keeping on the transfer of equipment to contractors.
The principles, which are signed by 19 multinationals, among them Anglo American, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Newmont, Rio Tinto and Shell, were announced in December 2000 by the US State Department and the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office after a year of negotiations with oil and mining businesses. They provide guidance on how companies can respect human rights while using security forces to protect facilities in conflict zones.
Use of the principles has grown steadily in seven years, but signatories have recently asked for clearer guidance on what the principles mean in practice. The KPIs are a response to those demands.
The KPIs have been developed by the human rights watchdog International Alert with financial assistance from the UK embassy in Colombia and the Canadian government’s Global Fund for Peace and Security. They are being regarded as a ‘work in progress’, and can be amended over time.
In the absence of KPIs to date, several signatories have prepared detailed operational guidelines for internal use, which are likely to inform the development of the new indicators. The International Finance Corporation is also producing a ‘guidance tool’ on implementing the principles, and the Global Reporting Initiative is preparing advice on how to report against them.
The KPIs further strengthen the principles and are in part a response to accountability concerns voiced by civil society groups. Last year the secretariat required signatories to ‘communicate publicly’ at least once a year on their efforts to implement the principles, file an annual progress report and respond promptly to ‘reasonable requests for information from other participants’.
Even so, John Ruggie, the United Nations special representative on business and human rights recently appointed for a further term, suggested this summer that the principles should be supported by grievance procedures to ‘protect their credibility’.
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