Human rights is a tougher thing to respect than it sounds. Avoiding the worst things, like committing genocide or scapegoating minority groups is pretty easy to avoid if you’re not an evil narcissist bent on world domination, but there are myriad smaller things that can go wrong much easier. Even small-time villains and people who didn’t want to do anything wrong can get caught up in it. Some of them can even happen without a company’s knowledge, with suppliers or intermediaries doing evil things and hiding it from the main company. Monitoring the whole supply chain, the factory floor, and many other things are essential to maximizing a company’s respect for human rights.
While a company’s management can monitor all of this, there’s a conflict of interest that crops up. When a company does come across something unsavory happening in the supply chain, it’s a lot easier to sweep it under the rug than to fix it, and even if the company does the right thing and fixes it, it’s easier to pretend it never happened, or half fix it.
That’s why some companies go through the extra step of having a third party audit their human rights record. Not only does this take away the conflict of interest, but shows the public that they’re committed to getting it right instead of hiding it.
The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) offers an annual comparative overview of the world’s largest companies, examining the policies, processes, and practices they have in place to institutionalize their approach to human rights and how they respond to serious allegations. This is a public good for all stakeholders. The CHRB’s goal is to prevent any issues that could hurt workers, communities or consumers. They’re one of the many companies who face this difficult challenge and plan on using market competition as a way to change for the better.
By getting companies to compete at doing the right thing, more companies are going to actually do the right thing.
Ford has been named the top automotive brand in the World Benchmarking Alliance’s 2022 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark for the second consecutive year. Additionally, Ford is ranked among the top ten out of 127 companies assessed as part of this benchmark.
Ford came in at number one on a list of 29 automotive companies. This top position was determined by an updated methodology that included analyzing current policies, processes and practices around human rights, as well as response examples and protocols to address potential allegations.
“Leading the electric vehicle revolution is exciting, but with it comes even more responsibility to ensure steadfast social and environmental sustainability measures across our operations and global supply chains,” said Cynthia Williams, Global Director, Sustainability, Homologation & Compliance, Ford Motor Company. “When it comes to human rights, our jobs are never done, but we’re proud to be leading the charge and working closely with respected organizations that keep us all accountable.”
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