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Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities
Study: Finnish companies are committed to respecting human rights, but few report on practical measures

Government analysis, assessment and research activitiesMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment
18.1.2021 13.00
Press release 022/2021

The majority of Finnish companies are generally committed to respecting human rights. However, only a quarter of companies systematically and publicly assess the impact of their business activities on the realisation of human rights. The result is in line with the international average.

These findings are revealed in a report published by the SIHTI project on 18 January. The SIHTI project examined how Finnish companies are fulfilling their human rights responsibilities in relation to expectations set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The research was carried out during 2020 by the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration (Hanken), FIANT Consulting Oy, 3bility Consulting and the Human Rights Centre. The information produced in the project supports the objectives set in the Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government with regard to promoting responsible business.

Few Finnish companies report publicly on the fulfilment of their responsibilities

The report found that a general commitment to human rights led only a quarter of companies to implement and monitor their human rights responsibilities systematically. Finnish companies also publish little information on the actions they take to fulfil their responsibilities.

The debate on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights focuses strongly and justifiably on countries where there is a high risk of adverse human rights impacts. That said, the authors of the study feel it is important to highlight the risks that may arise in Finland and other “low-risk” countries.

The findings from Finland can be compared with the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, which examines the human rights performance of the world’s 200 largest listed companies.

“The situation clearly leaves room for improvement, but the state of implementation of the human rights responsibilities of Finnish companies is largely at the same level as was found in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark’s global assessments. The results of the new study suggest that continuous monitoring has a significant impact on the realisation of responsibilities in practice. It is also important for companies to place greater emphasis on human rights issues at the level of strategy and management,” says Project Lead Nikodemus Solitander.

Assessment focused on 78 Finnish companies

The assessment focused on 78 Finnish companies. Of these, 29 companies were assessed using the sector-specific Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) methodology and 49 according to the indicators set in the UN Guiding Principles (UNGP).

The realisation of corporate responsibility for human rights was assessed based on publicly available information, which is in line with the CHRB methodology. The project also included interviews with 20 representatives of companies on the challenges involved in communicating information on corporate responsibility for human rights.

The SIHTI project was carried out as part of the implementation of the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities for 2020.

Inquiries:

Nikodemus Solitander, Project Lead, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration (Hanken), tel. +358 40 352 1451, [email protected]
Linda Piirto, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 028, [email protected]

The Government’s joint analysis, assessment and research activities (VN TEAS) produce data used to support decision-making, everyday operations and knowledge-based management. They are guided by the Government’s annual plan for analysis, assessment and research. The content of the reports published in the publication series of the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities is the responsibility of the producers of the data in question and does not necessarily represent the view of the Government. For more information, visit https://tietokayttoon.fi/en.