Communicate Progress refers to the ongoing practice of publicly sharing relevant information on due diligence policies, processes, and activities—in particular on adverse impacts identified and how those impacts are addressed. Communicating Progress is a crucial part of an effective and responsive due diligence system. It allows enterprises to demonstrate their specific, ongoing commitments to the due diligence process and is directly related to other due diligence steps. As an enterprise embeds human rights in management systems; identifies, assesses, and prioritizes impacts in their operations and supply chain; takes action to cease, prevent, or mitigate adverse impacts; takes action to remediate issues; and monitors and measures progress, the enterprise has a responsibility to publicly communicate this information to stakeholders.
When communicating progress, information on due diligence policies, processes and findings, and activities should be made publicly available and accessible to stakeholders through formats, platforms, mechanisms, and languages deemed most appropriate by the enterprise. Making impacts, activities, and results known to impacted rightsholders, a subset of an enterprise’s stakeholders, is an important piece of Communicating Progress, especially for agricultural supply chains where vulnerable workers are often engaged at the farm level of production and where multiple human rights intersect. Information can be shared following a variety of reporting frameworks and in numerous formats (annual reports, including sustainability or corporate responsibility reports, newsletters, website pages, meetings, online dialogues, consultations, additional published reporting, and other required forms of reporting and discloser). Communicating Progress should be responsive, regular, transparent, and increasingly specific and detailed.
Connecting to Other Elements
Communicating progress through transparent reporting can help institutionalize the processes discussed throughout the Elements in this guidance and drive internal enterprise commitments. While the same core elements should be covered by enterprises across the maturity spectrum, the depth and detail of information available should increase with maturity and in proportion to the maturity level of the enterprise’s overall due diligence system.
6.1 Transparent Reporting
In the context of Communicating Progress, transparent reporting (and transparency more broadly) refers to the public sharing of human rights due diligence progress and activities throughout the supply chain. It encompasses communicating policy commitments and actions taken to uphold those commitments, including disclosing of information gathered through risk and impact assessments and the strategic interventions implemented in response to and informed by that information. Enterprises implementing responsible business conduct have a responsibility to communicate transparently with stakeholders; this communication should be transparent even if they indicate the need for further engagement or ongoing action.
The activities and responsibilities that comprise the Transparent Reporting component of the Communicate & Report Progress element are often summarized as “know and show.” The more an enterprise knows (Elements 2 – 4) the more an enterprise can show (Element 6). In order to know, or identify, adverse impacts and potential risks – and then remediate or address them – an enterprise must have visibility into its supply chain and an understanding of the salient risks presented. This knowledge is a pre-requisite for transparent communication and reporting. In later stages of maturity, transparency around human rights due diligence reporting may be closely linked with broader supply chain transparency, the disclosure of supply chain information to stakeholders within and outside of the supply chain, as part of an enterprise’s larger ESG strategy.
Concepts to include in Glossary:
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- Public reporting
- Reporting frameworks