DFGE– the Institute for Energy, Ecology and Economy is releasing its fourth press release in the form of a checklist. Companies can it to identify potential gaps in their CSR/sustainability program. This checklist focuses on how to respect human rights from a business level.
Greifenberg/Munich, 15 September 2016 – DFGE – Institute for Energy, Ecology and Economy – was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Technical University of Munich and offers complete consulting, software and audit solutions in the field of sustainability. In this sense, DFGE has at heart to tackle all related CSR themes. After a general introduction on the program, we focused on environment and labor practices. This checklist tackles human rights. Human rights are the basic rights to which all human beings are entitled. Specifically, Human rights at work include freedom of association and collective bargaining, no forced labor, equal opportunities and non-discrimination, child labor. (ISO 26000).
1 – Is the program structured?
To make sure that the human rights part of the CSR program will work, companies need to structure it
- Is the management engaged, with roles defined?
- Are stakeholders, especially employees and subcontractors working onsite, engaged?
- Is the program part of an overall strategy?
- Are there targets? Are they followed by KPIs and reviewed?
- Are the successes communicated?
- Have the relevant topics been identified? (Discrimination, forced labor,etc.)
- Did you set due diligence processes for human rights?
- Did you make a risk-mapping of human rights? Have you adapted your operations and CSR program accordingly?
2 – Have you set a non-discrimination program?
Discrimination involves any distinction, exclusion or preference that has the effect of nullifying equality of treatment or opportunity based on illegitimate grounds like gender or religion for example. (ISO 26 000) Ensuring the well-being of employees means preventing discrimination
- Is management trained on such topics?
- Is there a code of conduct or a policy on non-discrimination? Do the employees need to read and acknowledge it?
- Is there a grievance mechanism to report alleged cases?
- Is there a process/guidance to deal with alleged cases?
- Is there a phone number/a web form that the persons working onsite can access? Is this anonymous?
- Do you promote the non-retaliation process (victims will be protected from retaliation)?
- Do you have a diversity program to integrate some vulnerable groups? For example, mentoring between young employees and experienced employees.
3 – Does the company prevent child and forced labor?
Child labor is a form of exploitation which damages a child’s physical, social, mental, psychological and spiritual development, depriving them of childhood and dignity. (ISO 26 000) Forced labor means that work or service is exacted under the threat of any penalty or not conducted voluntarily (ISO 26 000). Preventing them is essential for the well-being of employees, and also for the reputation of the company.
- Is there a risk-mapping of your operations? Is child labor or forced labor a risk in some countries/regions?
- Have you trained the decision-makers, managers and HR populations on child labor and forced labor?
- Do the employees, business partners need to sign a code of conduct prohibiting such practices?
- Are the topics explained in the Human Resources recruitment process?
- Does the recruitment process prohibit the holding of migrant workers’ passports?
- Can the employee leave the facilities easily//freely (for instance, rules in contractors for working times, factories closed at night…)?
- Does your company check the age of young workers?
- Do you perform internal audits?
- Do you resort to third-party audits?
- Is there a whistle blowing in place, where such cases can be reported?
- Do you promote the non-retaliation process?
4 – Which actions are in place to respect fundamental human rights?
There are two broad categories of human rights. The first category concerns civil and political rights and includes such rights as the right to life and liberty, equality before the law and freedom of expression. The second category concerns economic, social and cultural rights and includes such rights as the right to work, the right to food, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to education and the right to social security. (ISO 26 000)
- Does your company commit to the right to collective bargaining and freedom of association?
- Is social dialogue implemented in the company (e.g. works council or employee representatives or collective agreements)?
- Do you provide basic facilities for your employees?
- Do you offer social security?
- Is harassment prohibited by a policy or a code of conduct?
- Is there a grievance mechanism to report any form of violence/harassment?
- Are employees entitled to breaks?
This non-exhaustive list gives ideas of what you could implement to prevent human rights abuses in your facilities, in addition to comply with international, national, and local laws. Engaging suppliers on such topics through questionnaires, audits, code of conduct is a way to tackle the issue which is also located in the global supply chain, according to your business lines. The items described here are not prioritized. If you want more information, please contact DFGE at
If you also want to read the recent 3 check lists – please see
- No 1 – A checklist to easily improve sustainability programs
- No 2 – A checklist to easily improve your environmental program
- No 3 – A checklist to easily improve labor practices
DFGE – institute for energy, ecology and economy – was founded in 1999 as spin-off of the Technical University of Munich and offers complete consulting, software and audit solutions in the field of CSR. Our offer SustainabilityIntelligence features management and reporting solutions related to CSR and sustainability topics (among them being greenhouse gas emissions), and refers to international norms in this field. Our clients comprise international companies (DAX and fortune 500), SMEs, governmental organizations or territorial authorities. For more information, contact us: or visit our website www.dfge.de
The DFGE disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the given information. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute DFGE’s judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. DFGE shall have no liability for errors, omissions, or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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