The methodology for our Study combined desk-based literature, policy and legal research - including consideration of international and regional legal documents, national laws and jurisprudence - with insights from web-based survey responses and individual interviews. Both the survey responses and the interviews were anonymous.

The primary form of data collection was through a web-based survey with questions about companies’ human rights due diligence practices. The survey was completed by 152 respondents during June and July 2015.

  • Most respondents self-identified as ‘multinational’, followed by ‘large national’, ‘medium’ and ‘small’.
  • Two thirds of respondents had public shareholding ownership, or were listed on a stock exchange. Almost one fifth had private shareholding.
  • In 28.79% of survey responses, the main activity of the person who completed the survey was within the company’s legal department.
  • The other respondents were working in the following departments: 19.7% corporate social responsibility (CSR), 12.12% compliance, and 10.61% human rights.

This survey was followed by semi-structured interviews with 14 senior level managers to talk further about human rights due diligence practices within their companies and their sector, and a roundtable on human rights due diligence in practice with representatives from a number of companies differing in their implementation of human rights due diligence. The substantive comments provided during this phase of our research helped to put the survey results in context and crystallise a number of key points which arose from the survey responses. Where relevant, our analysis focuses on four sectors: extractives (including mining and energy), financial services, pharmaceuticals and life sciences and technology.1

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1 When broken down according to sector, survey results are not always representative of the entire industry, for several reasons: the number of respondents from each sector was not identical; respondents were self-selecting; completion of the survey was voluntary; and several questions were optional. Ultimately, however, we believe that in combination with our robust follow-up interviews, our findings highlight some interesting trends, important information, and points for discussion relevant to these sectors.