Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility: Bench Marks for Measuring Business Performance

The Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility: Bench Marks for Measuring Business Performance (Bench Marks) promotes positive corporate social responsibility consistent with the responsibility to sustain the human community and all creation. The Bench Marks states comprehensive standards and expectations fundamental to a responsible company's action. The Bench Marks calls for:

  • A new relationship between corporations, communities and ecosystems;
  • Support for a sustainable system of production and a more equitable system for the distribution of the economic benefits of production and environmental services;
  • Participation of stakeholders and those most affected by the activities of corporations in the decision-making processes of companies;
  • Preservation and protection of the environment for present and future generations.
  • Respect for the dignity of every person, for workers' right to organize a union and bargain collectively and for all core labour rights as defined by the International Labour Organization;
  • Strong codes of conduct for corporations and suppliers independently monitored by local non-governmental and community organizations;
  • Affirmation of indigenous peoples' right to full participation in the business decisions which pertain to their ancestral lands and their way of life;
  • Development of a human rights policy based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Commitment to the principle that every worker has the right of access to health care, accessible and affordable medicines, including antiretrovirals for the treatment of AIDS.
  • Corporate governance policies that balance the sometimes competing interests of managers, employees, shareholders and communities; and that are based on ethical values, including inclusivity, integrity, honesty, justice and transparency.

Proponents: The Steering Group of the "Globalizing the Principles Network," established after the Hengrave Conference in 1999 that was organized by the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility of the United Kingdom (ECCR), the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility of the USA (ICCR) and the Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility of Canada (TCCR, now KAIROS-Canada). The Steering Group includes: Helga Birgden, Australia; Daniel Gennarelli, Canada; Hildebrando Vélez, Colombia; Crispin White, United Kingdom; Chan Kawai, Hong Kong, China; Jo Seoka, South Africa; and David Schilling, United States.

The proponents offer this document to groups working on corporate social responsibility, to workers and to companies seeking to respond to the challenges of doing business in the global economy in a socially responsible manner. Our long-range goal is to transform the way corporations relate to people, communities and the environment. We invite people of all faiths and beliefs to engage in and contribute to the promotion of the principles articulated in the Bench Marks. We believe the broad involvement of a variety of individuals and institutions will deepen the values of corporate responsibility and accountability that will restore human dignity, the integrity of creation and the social order.

Click here to download a pdf file of the document.

After the Rio World Summit 1 in 1992, when the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations (UNCTAD) failed to implement an international code of conduct, a taskforce of religious bodies from the UK, USA, and Canada formed a partnership to an analytical frame work which could be applied to organizations across the full range of socially responsible expectations.

The framework is called 'Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility: Bench Marks For Measuring Business Performance', known as Bench Marks.

In April 1999, 53 delegates from 22 countries endorsed the framework and formed an International Secretariat. The Secretariat was initially based in the United Kingdom, but at the Bench Marks 3 meeting of the Steering Committee held in Pretoria, South Africa in October 2002, it was agreed that the Secretariat be based in a south country. South Africa now hosts the International Secretariat.

In 2000 a group of Southern African delegates along with a representative of five Christian organizations formed a steering committee to launch the South Africa initiative. In March 2001, the Bench Marks Foundation was launched under the chairmanship of Bishop Jo Seoka, and inaugurated over by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

 Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility
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