Human rights and labor standards risks for companies and investors are increasing on a global scale, according to a new study from the risk analysis and mapping company Maplecroft.
The fifth annual Human Rights Risk Atlas (HRRA) found that nearly half (48 percent) of the 197 countries studied now pose extreme' or high' risks of corporate complicity in rights violations. All told, citizens in 95 countries are now exposed to human rights violations by states that's a 6 percent increase in countries posing extreme' or high' risks to business and investors since 2010.
What's the reason behind the increase in human rights and labor standards risk? Maplecroft cites three main factors:
the violent crackdown on protesters by security forces during the Arab Spring uprisings,
an emerging set of resource scarcity challenges for business, linked to large scale land grabs' in developing countries by foreign investors, aimed at increasing food, water and energy security at home, and
the global economic recession continued to challenge the rights of workers and has resulted in a trend for the trafficking of migrant workers for forced labor in countries such as Malaysia, Russia, South Africa and UAE.
Here is Maplecroft's ranking of the ten countries where there's the most extreme risk for human rights violations:
2. DR Congo
7. North Korea
Centered on the broad categories of human security, labour rights, civil and political rights and access to remedy, the HRRA underscores the inter-connectedness between environmental, social and governance risks.
"In the face of a deteriorating human rights situation, corporations can expect increased scrutiny from stakeholders and investors, making it imperative for them to assess, mitigate, manage and monitor these risks," said Maplecroft CEO, Alyson Warhurst. "It is becoming critical for organizations to integrate environmental, social and governance factors, such as human rights impact assessment, into their decision making, or they leave themselves exposed to reputational damage, legal actions and costs to the business that in turn might lead to requirements to divest."
For more information see the Human Rights Risk Atlas 2012.