On October 9, 2013, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) launched a landmark report entitled "Knowing and Showing: Using U.S. Securities Laws to Compel Human Rights Disclosure."
The Report, edited, reviewed and endorsed by Professor Cynthia A. Williams, argues that human rights are materially relevant to corporate securities reporting and encourages the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to guide businesses in reporting material human rights information in their periodic and proxy disclosure reports.
The Report proposes a plan for implementing disclosure of material human rights information related to business activities, incorporating human rights due diligence standards at the global level to assess and identify material human rights risks and impacts and identifying two alternative and complementary actions that the SEC could take to clarify precisely how issuers should disclose material human rights information.
First, given its authority to issue interpretive guidance, the SEC should provide such guidance in order to explain how material human rights information should be incorporated into existing securities reporting items. Second, given its authority to promulgate new regulations for the public interest or the protection of investors, the SEC should promulgate a new rule specifically requiring disclosures of human rights information, organized in a new reporting item for periodic reports or proxy disclosures.
The Report is replete with evidence and analysis backing up each of the actions above, and we encourage all interested stakeholders, including investors, government officials, and civil society colleagues to make active use of the materials collected for this effort.
Click to download: "Knowing and Showing: Using U.S. Securities Laws to Compel Human Rights Disclosure"