How business and investors impact human rights has been discussed thoroughly in many fora since the introduction of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the UNGPs) in 2011.
IFU has been inspired by the UNGPs to revise and amend its approach and has updated its sustainability policy and sustainability handbook to include the UNGPs, and aligned its CSR self-assessment tool with the UNGPs.
In order for IFU to continue its work with the UNGPs, IFU requested the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) in early 2017 to conduct a review on IFU’s current policies and procedures to ensure that IFU works towards applying the UNGPs. Where gaps are identified, DIHR was requested to provide recommendations on how IFU could move forward.
– I am very satisfied that the review concludes that “sustainability and human rights are by no means new concepts in IFU” and that “they have been part of IFU’s DNA from the very beginning”, says Tommy Thomsen, CEO of IFU.
– However, we acknowledge that working with human rights is a dynamic area, and that IFU will continue to work with human rights as a development finance institution, he continues.
The review states:
IFU has done a lot to systematise and improve its approach to sustainability. The UNGPs have also inspired IFU to revise and amend its approach in several areas e.g. via aligning the CSR self-assessment tool to the UNGPs, by updating the policy and handbook to include the UNGPs and by integrating elements of the UNGPs in tools and templates as relevant.
The review continues:
Although IFU has done a lot to align with the UNGPs, alignment within specific and important areas of the due diligence requirements are missing e.g. with regards to engaging with affected rights holders when identifying and addressing impacts; prioritizing efforts based on an assessment of severity of human rights risks and impacts; ensuring that the full range of human rights risks are taking into consideration; and being transparent on IFU’s involvement with human rights risks and its efforts to address these – also at the project level.
The result of the review was discussed at the IFU Board meeting on 22 June 2017 and at the IFU Sustainability Advisory Board meeting on 30 August 2017. Based on these discussions, IFU is now in the process of developing an internal action plan to take the recommendations further to adjust its procedures and policies to be fully in line with the UNGPs.
The summary of the review report can be found here.