Trading with oppressive regimes

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Does the business have any business relationships, such as joint ventures, with a military or other coercive regime?

EXCELLENT Answers

No EXCELLENT answers have been published for this question.

GOOD Answers

No GOOD answers have been published for this question.

OKAY Answers

No OKAY answers have been published for this question.

POOR Answers

No POOR answers have been published for this question.

This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights “apply to all States and to all business enterprises, both transnational and others, regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership and structure.” These principles establish that all businesses have an explicit role in the realisation of human rights through a responsibility to respect them and to takes steps to avoid infringing the rights of others and to address any adverse human impact as a result of their corporate activity. It is referred to as the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework.

Foreign investment and business can play a key role in helping developing countries to reduce poverty and build their economy. But business can also have the opposite effect of perpetuating political repression by helping to sustain and fund governments that oppress their own people. This is particularly a concern with military regimes but there are many other despotic or coercive governments which have a questionable record on human rights. It may be difficult to identify the precise characteristics of such a regime but indicators might include: a permanent ‘state of emergency’; a lack of an independent judiciary; restricted press or restricted freedom of expression; random violence towards citizens or sections of the population and the use of military, paramilitary and/or police power to dominate civilians, physically and mentally.

A company that undertakes any business with a military or other coercive regime runs the risk of contributing directly or indirectly to human rights violations. Even when business activities and operations do not, in themselves, play a role in such abuses, a company may risk significant damage to its own reputation through association with such a regime.

This question gives businesses an opportunity to assess and explain their operations in any country where the government has a questionable human rights record.

Coercion

'Coercion' is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of violence, intimidation, threats or some other form of pressure.

Military/ Coercive regime

A 'military' or a 'coercive' regime have similar elements. Essentially, a type of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a individual or a small group and is based upon repressive police power and/or military force.

Answering YES

All Businesses MUST

State their business or business sector

List the military or coercive regimes with which they do business

State the type or nature of business relationship(s) with the regime(s)

Explain any policies or practices designed to guide their business relationships

All Businesses MAY

Describe any assessments they have made to gauge the impact of company operations on citizens of the country and explain any mitigating circumstances

Indicate how long they have operated in the country

Describe any future plans

Answering NO

All Businesses MUST

State their business or business sector

Confirm they have no business relationships with coercive regimes

All Businesses MAY

Describe any specific measures to avoid support of military or coercive regimes, e.g. taking this issue into account when making sourcing decisions

Describe any future plans

DON'T KNOW is not a permissible answer to this question

NOT APPLICABLE is not a permissible answer to this question

Version 1

To receive a score of 'Excellent'

Consistent principles and guidelines

Examples of policies and practices which may support an EXCELLENT statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Statement on philosophy or values underlying reasons of not engaging with illegal activities with coercive regime
  2. Principle and guidelines to show efforts to avoid working with coercive governments
  3. Significant steps to ensure that business relationship with the coercive government is as transparent as possible
  4. Objective information on involvement with coercive government is available to staff, clients and customers
  5. Policies to maintain a diverse local workforce are protected (because areas with coercive governments are likely to have certain kinds of groups which are more oppressed than others)
  6. Evidence of successful solutions to mitigate coercion on civilians
  7. Has an established relationship with other stakeholders to prohibit illegal/unethical business practices
  8. Practices that ensures that business operations do not contribute to coercion on civilians
  9. Regularly communicate policies/ practices to all staff and stakeholders
  10. Regular monitoring of policies/ practices
  11. Guidelines comply with international regulations
  12. Significant investment (such as human capital) into the civil society
  13. Track record in reducing coercive activities
  14. Credible efforts to reconcile opposing sides
  15. Working from within to promote change
To receive a score of 'Good'

Active principles and guidelines

Examples of policies and practices which may support a GOOD statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Statement on philosophy or values underlying reasons of not engaging with illegal activities with coercive regime
  2. Principle and guidelines to show efforts to avoid working with coercive governments
  3. Business relationship with coercive government is transparent
  4. Objective information on involvement with coercive government is available to staff/clients or customers
  5. Evident practices to ensures business operations do not negatively impact civilians
  6. Principles and guidelines are regularly communicated to all staff
  7. Policies are regularly monitored and evaluated
  8. Compliant with international regulations
To receive a score of 'Okay'

Aware of the issue and taking ad hoc steps

Examples of policies and practices which may support an OKAY statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Evidence of limited guidelines to dealing with businesses in coercive regimes
  2. Awareness of the issue has been communicated to staff
  3. Policy to prevent business involvement in coercive regime
To receive a score of 'Poor'

The business acknowledges performance below expectations or no action evident

Examples of policies and practices which may support a POOR statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Statement of future intent to improve
  2. No evidence of practices or policies to ensure that business operations do not engage with activities with coercive regimes