One Big Thing: Corporations are Graded on Human Rights
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What is it?
- Worker rights and corporate neglect have come front and center throughout centuries, but usually only after tragedies and revelations about industries spark public outcry and demand reform.
- Tragedies like Triangle Shirtwaiste Factory fire in 1911, the Union Carbide Bhopal, India chemical disaster in 1984, and more recently the collapse of a Bangladeshi garment factory in 2013 all have contributed to changes in industry standards.
- Since these tragedies and other revelations have occurred, many of top American and multi-national corporations have gone out of their way to prove to consumers that they value human rights and the environment.
- Each year the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) releases a report scoring over 200 major corporations’ commitment to human rights. In their most recent 2019 report, Adidas and Rio Tinto – a multinational mining company – scored the highest.
Why is it important?
- Corporate responsibility to human rights is an issue that affects almost all aspects of everyday life. Many of the products that we regularly use including our cell phones, fuel, clothes and even food can be the product of specific human rights risks, such as child labor or lack of labor rights.
- While CHRB’s 2019 corporate average score was a meager 24.3/100, some companies do a lot to protect human rights. As mentioned, Adidas is a leader in corporate human rights practices. One aspect of their success is their commitment to top to bottom labor rights as well as focusing on transparency and responsive action.
What can you do?
- Get involved and see what you can do to combat harmful mining practices of gold & cobalt and check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.
- Learn more about many popular companies including Starbucks and Amazon fail to address human rights.
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