Guide to the Benchmark


The CHRB Methodology is the result of extensive multi-stakeholder consultation around the world over two years, involving representatives from over 400 companies, governments, civil society organisations, investors, academics and legal experts. Below are some key points of information you will need to understand the CHRB results. 


As the CHRB we want to emphasise that the results, based on publicly available information, are a proxy for corporate human rights performance and not an absolute measure of performance. This is because, while there is extensive work being undertaken to understand and value respect for human rights, there are no agreed fundamental units of measurement for human rights. As such the CHRB results provide a subjective assessment at a certain point in time.

Since the pilot was launched in March 2017, we have refined the methodology and are confident in the quality of the results. However, due to the subjective nature of the assessments, which spreads across several thousand data points, there will always be an interpretive margin. We therefore encourage a greater analytical focus on general performance and how scores improve over time rather than upon marginal differences in scoring (either up or down). 

Publicly Available Information

In an effort to drive greater transparency, the CHRB is based on only publicly available information from company websites, documents, and additional company input to the CHRB Disclosure Platform. As such, some companies may have non-public information which would not be taken into account in the 2018 results.

This information was reviewed during a set research cycle. As such, certain company information may be updated following the close of a research cycle, or shortly after a benchmark is published.

Therefore, a score of 0 on an individual indicator does not necessarily mean that bad practices are present or that there is no company action on the issue. Rather, it means that we have been unable to identify the required information in public documentation within the research timeframe.


The three industries in focus – Agricultural Products, Apparel, and Extractives – were selected following multistakeholder consultation, taking into account their high human rights risks, the extent of previous work on the issue, and global economic significance. The CHRB follows a specific approach in relation to the scope of each industry covered, the scope of company activities within the value chain, as well as the scope of business relationships considered. See the CHRB Methodology for further information.


The selected 101 publicly traded companies were chosen on the basis of their size (market capitalisation) and revenues, as well as geographic and industry balance. For the full list of companies see Annex 1 in the 2018 Key Findings Report, which includes the scope of business relationship that they were assessed against. 

International and Industry - Specific Standards

The Benchmark is grounded in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as additional standards and guidance focused on specific industries and specific issues. This is reflected in the focus of the CHRB Measurement Themes, which look at companies’ policies, governance, processes, practices and transparency, as well as how they respond to serious allegations.

Measurement Themes  

The CHRB Methodology is composed of indicators spread across six Measurement Themes with different weightings. These levels have been carefully developed through numerous consultations with stakeholders to seek to achieve a balance between measuring actual human rights impacts on the ground as well as the effectiveness of policies and processes implemented across large and complex companies to systematically address their human rights risks and impacts.


Indicators follow a set structure, awarding either 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5 or 2 points depending on whether the requirements are fulfilled through a review of publicly available information. In the 2018 assessment, half points were awarded when a company met one of several requirements for indicators where a score 1 or a score 2 contain several criteria. See the 2018 Methodology for more information on this.

A company’s score on a Measurement Theme is calculated by adding the number of points awarded in the respective Theme and dividing it by the maximum number of points available. The scores on all Measurement Themes are then weighted to produce a company’s total CHRB score.

Companies in Two Industries 

Companies may be assessed against more than one CHRB industry, where they derive at least 15% of their revenues or over GBP £1 billion from the relevant CHRB industry. Eight companies fell into both the Agricultural Products and Apparel industries. In this case the companies were assessed both in terms of how they manage their Agricultural Products and Apparel business. As such, these particular companies are presented in both industry results where relevant.

Out of Scope 

There are some aspects that contribute to the human rights performance of companies, but which are not covered in the Benchmark in order to focus on key issues, maintain a manageable scope and to learn lessons from the inaugural results. 

These are:

  • Geography
  • Consumption of Products and Services
  • Positive Impacts
  • Collective Impacts (such as climate change)

See the CHRB Methodology for further details. 

Long term perspective

We also want to encourage a greater analytical focus on how scores improve over time rather than upon how a company compares to other companies in the same industry today. Benchmark findings are important snapshots to consider as part of a larger picture of corporate human rights performance, and these snapshots will become more telling over time through several iterations of benchmark results so that comparisons can be made. The spirit of the exercise is to promote continual improvement via an open assessment process and a common understanding of the importance of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

2018 Benchmarking Process

In January 2018, the revised CHRB Methodology was published and the research timeline was communicated to company representatives. From mid-February to the end of March, companies were encouraged to include relevant information in their own documentations, formal reporting and websites, or on the CHRB Disclosure Platform. The initial research and analysis was carried out by a team of researchers between April and July.

From June to August the Engagement phase was carried out; companies were sent their draft scorecard and given the opportunity to send comments via email or to discuss the draft assessment with the CHRB team over a one-hour call.

The engagement phase was followed by a second disclosure period, during which companies could point the research team to specific statements and / or disclose new documents on the Disclosure Platform.

The assessment and scores were then finalised during the second review phase, which took place between July and September. During that phase, the research team revised the draft assessments based on the companies’ comments received during engagement, any new disclosures from the companies as well as quality controls

For the full list of companies that engaged in the benchmarking process see Annex 3 in the 2018 Key Findings Report.


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2018 Results

Discover what happened when we applied this methodology to 101 companies from three high-risk industries – agricultural products, apparel and extractives

Find Out More