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 CHRB we want to emphasise that the results will always be a proxy for good human rights management, and not an absolute measure of performance. This is because there are no fundamental units of measurement for human rights. Human rights assessments are therefore necessarily more subjective than objective. The Benchmark also captures only a snap shot in time. We therefore want to encourage companies, investors, civil society and governments to look at the broad performance bands that companies are ranked within rather than their precise score because, as with all measurements, and particularly one as new as the CHRB which is in its pilot phase, there is a reasonably wide margin of error possible in interpretation.

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 2017 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.


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 Pilot Methodology for further information.


The selected 98 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 the 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, 1, or 2 points depending on whether the requirements are fulfilled through a review of publicly available information. In the 2018 assessment, half points will be awarded when a company meets 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 20% of their revenues 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 be covered in the 2017 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.

2016-2017 Benchmarking Process

Company representatives were contacted in March 2016 notifying them that they were selected for benchmarking and offered the opportunity to highlight or disclose initial information relevant to the criteria in the first published Pilot Methodology. In May 2016 research began by Vigeo Eiris according to the CHRB Pilot methodology. As a result of the initial research phase, several indicators were adjusted to ensure fairness in application and rigour in the 2017 results. These changes are recorded in the CHRB Pilot Methodology Addendum and have been included in the Combined CHRB Pilot Methodology

In November 2016 all companies received their draft research profile, including scores for individual indicators. Companies were offered the opportunity to review the research and feedback issues to the research team, as well as disclose any further information not previously in the public domain to the publicly available CHRB Disclosure Platform. A second research review phase was then carried out against this company feedback to finalise scores for publication in March 2017.

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


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How did we do it?

Three years' of development, consultation, engagement and research led to the 2017 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. Read more about our methodology to measure corporate human rights performance.

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