2nd Edition of Renewable Energy & Human Rights Benchmark published today

The 2nd edition of the only Renewable Energy and Human Rights Benchmark has been launched today by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC). The EIRIS Foundation is pleased to have partnered with the Centre in its data collection and review process of the benchmark this year.

It is not a coincidence that this report is published in the midst of COP26 and the focus on how we finance the shift to Net Zero

As part of the growing emphasis  on ensuring a just transition we believe it’s vital that new and rapidly developing industries, like renewable energy, have justice and human rights built in from the start, respecting the rights of individuals and communities.

The Benchmark assesses 15 of the top wind and solar energy companies on internationally accepted human rights standards.

Key findings from the benchmark:

· The Resource Centre recorded over 200 allegations linked to renewable energy projects in the last 10 years, almost half (44%) linked to wind and solar sectors.

· Abuses include land and water grabs, violation of the rights of Indigenous nations, and the denial of workers’ rights to decent work and a living wage.

· Despite wind and solar projects requiring substantial amounts of land, no company had policies respecting land rights within its own operations.

· All companies scored zero on their commitment to respect the rights of human rights and environmental defenders.

· Barely one-quarter of companies had policies recognising and respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Companies need to move from audits of the impact of their supply chains or facilities to proactive human rights due diligence: identifying risk or impacts ahead of time and making avoiding or mitigating them part of business as usual.

There are also positive indications of progress. Companies which scored relatively low on the benchmark in 2020 have made several modest improvements, showing it is possible for companies to make policy improvements in a short period of time.

Read the full report and findings: Renewable Energy & Human Rights Benchmark 2021

We would welcome feedback on the benchmark, and in particular how investors will be able to use it to advance a just transition. It would also be interesting to hear any other steps investors are taking to link climate and human rights.