Richard Karmel features on Business in the Community Blog

On his website, Richard Karmel discusses issues relating to human rights and social responsibility in corporate society. 

Richard Karmel is responsible for Mazars’ award winning business and human rights reporting service line. Richard and his team have devised an innovative solution to help protect the reputation of businesses whilst ensuring compliance with their social obligations.

He recently led Mazars participation in the drafting of the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework.

Aside from writing his own blogs about corporate human rights reporting, he has also been asked to express his expert views and opinions for a number of high profile, industry websites.

Business in the Community

BITC is a business-led, issue-focused charity with more than 30 years’ experience of mobilising business. They offer a number of practical ways for businesses to work together and take action to help tackle some of the key issues facing society.

They provide a range of services, practical guidance and creative solutions that help businesses review, improve, measure and report.

Following the release of the ‘Reporting Framework’ co-facilitated by Shift and Mazars, Richard was approached by BITC’s blog to pen a guest article, titled: “Building respect for human rights and business through regulation.”

See below a snippet, taken from Richard’s article:

“In the world of human rights, regulation specifically aimed at UK business has only really just started with two recent pieces of legislation – and one that is about to be enacted:

  • The Companies Act 2006 was amended in 2013 to require all quoted companies to report on their human rights performance “to the extent necessary for an understanding” of the company’s overall performance;
  • The Modern day Slavery Bill, as of 23 February 2015, is at the Report Stage in the House of Lords; and
  • The EU non-financial reporting directive will come into force for years ending in 2017.

Given its recent introduction, nobody really knows if the Companies Act 2006 is working.  However, judging from a review that we at Mazars undertook of the 2013 annual reports of 22 companies in the FTSE100, we would suggest that most companies are complying with the letter rather than the spirit of the law. 

This spirit is about how to establish behavioral change so that companies respect human rights throughout their value chain. As BITC highlighted in their 10 December Insight Paper on Business and Human Rights: “Where business continue to struggle however, is driving the cultural change and commitment, which is needed to enable a policy to function fully.”

Currently, a lack of understanding of what respect for human rights means across all areas of the business rather, than just within one or two departments, would seem to be the key issue. Education and training must be pre-requisite to ensure that all current and future leaders are aware of their responsibilities.”

If you would like to learn more about Human Rights Best Practice, please watch Richard’s YouTube webinar.

You can also follow his latest thoughts and comments with regard to corporate human rights via his twitter feed.