CBIS is using an innovative new tool to help with our corporate engagements on human rights – the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB), which launched this March. The CHRB provides the first-ever comparative snapshot of the human rights performance of the largest 98 companies, selected on the basis of their size (market cap) and revenues, across the agricultural products, apparel and extractives industries. This tool was developed over the past three years in collaboration with investors across the globe, including CBIS. We took part in a multi-stakeholder consultation session and submitted extensive comments that helped to influence the criteria on which companies are benchmarked and ensure that impacts on workers and communities were prioritized.

“We believe this is an incredibly important tool in our engagement work,” said Director of CRI Julie Tanner. “As investors, we know that human rights conflicts have the potential to damage a company’s reputation, impact consumer confidence and increase legislative and legal risks. To be among the leaders, companies will need to demonstrate they have taken proactive steps to engage communities, protect workers and respect the environment in order to drive positive performance.”

Our human rights engagements are part of the Human Dignity pillar, one of the three pillars of Catholic Responsible Investing. CBIS has a long history of leadership on Human Dignity — over two decades calling on companies to eliminate sweatshops, create comprehensive and transparent policies and frameworks, and assess supply chains to eliminate human trafficking, among other accomplishments. We plan to use the benchmark as a tool in our active ownership work – the information in the benchmark will allow CBIS to better understand how companies assess and manage risks within their operations and supply chains, address adverse human rights impacts, and disclose findings to stakeholders.