Once the external and internal sources for suitable indicators have been identified, an internal process needs to be agreed for how information will be collected within the business. Much of this is the same for any other kind of business monitoring: some will be collected internally, sometimes external auditors will be used to either verify existing data or collect data from additional sources.
There are a number of organisations which now claim to offer a business ‘human rights expertise’ for monitoring and auditing. Businesses should be rigorous in their selection of such external assistance and use other businesses, NGOs, Trade Unions or contacts in multi-stakeholder initiatives for advice about where and how to engage with the best monitoring experts. Increasingly, businesses are combining their efforts around specific commodities (for example Palm Oil or Cocoa) or geographic locations (for example in Cambodia or Jordan) to share knowledge about the best approaches to monitoring and how best to engage with third parties for the purpose of monitoring and assurance. Sometimes this is part of the central focus of the initiative itself, such as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative
|The following factors might be useful when a business develops its methodology and when acquiring its data: |
- How much can the business learn from other companies who have built a considerable amount of internal expertise, versus other companies which rely much more on external parties?
- When is appropriate to pool efforts with other businesses in a specific country, or in relation to a specific commodity, or a specific human rights issue (such as security or freedom of expression)?
- What aspects of human rights monitoring require particular sensitivity? Business will need to pay particular attention to internal ‘whistle-blower’ or external ‘grievance mechanisms’ and ensure that the dignity, security and confidentially or those making complaints is fully protected. This is also the case where a business might witness the abuse of rights by governmental agencies or security forces, or by other businesses or organisations.