Adidas leads pack in new human rights benchmark

brett mathews | 12th November 2018

LONDON – Adidas is the world’s top scoring company in a new benchmark which assesses businesses on their respect for human rights based on principles from the United Nations. Marks & Spencer is also one of the leading scorers in the index, although performance generally is poor with two thirds of companies rated scoring less than 30 per cent. In the apparel sector, Adidas is out in its own, scoring in the 80-90 per cent category, M&S and VF Corp are in the 60-70 per cent category and Gap and Inditex are in the 50 to 60 per cent category.

The study, the most comprehensive of its kind, was produced by the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, a UK NGO which draws expertise from think-tanks, investors and business foundations in order to track how companies perform across 100 indicators built on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, along with additional industry standards.

The report also uses publicly available information on issues which include forced labour, protecting human-rights activists and the living wage. The average score this time was 27 per cent, up on last time when the average was 18 per cent.

“While we see clear progress from some companies, the majority are failing to make the grade,” Margaret Wachenfeld, independent director of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark who co-leads the organisation’s methodology committee, said.

In all, of 101 companies surveyed, 40 per cent failed to show any evidence of identifying or mitigating human-rights issues in their supply chains. The report also suggests hardly any businesses demonstrated strong commitments to paying living wages to workers along the supply chain or in their own operations.