The entry point for sparking conversations about responsible business and Human Rights
Ethical audits remain a cornerstone of many companies’ responsible business and business and human rights programmes, and through the lens of the Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence framework, they remain an important tool for identifying and remediating the salient social, environmental and governance issues of an organisation.
Ethical audits continue to provide a crucial entry point into collecting data on employees and their working conditions, and are the perfect catalyst for sparking conversations about responsible business and business and human rights.
More recently, many companies have also started to use the information from ethical audits to enable them to identify high risk suppliers. Here, Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs) are used to conduct ‘deep dives’ into identifying and addressing key issues that would be difficult to fully understand during a typical ethical audit.
Combined, ethical audits and HRIAs are essential tools for companies to leverage in order meet their mandatory Human Rights and environmental requirements, including the UK 2015 Modern Slavery Act, and the new due diligence proposal from the European Commission, which will ask companies to:
Ethical audits and HRIA’s can be bespoke, allowing them to be used by any organisation – whether it is a company, non-governmental organisations, or government body – to begin their responsible business/business and Human Rights journey.
In 2020 and 2021, we conducted an ethical audit on Partner Africa, and have developed a committee consisting of employees and managers to understand and address the issues identified.
Although we are a small organisation, we have found the audit to be an incredibly valuable tool that places employees at the centre of our business and making us as responsible as we can be.