Lopez-led and premier renewable energy company Energy Development Corporation (EDC), a subsidiary of First Gen Corporation, is taking the lead in aligning its human rights disclosures with the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Business and Human Rights (BHR).
Endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, the UNGPs direct both states and businesses to respect and protect human rights. Since then, the UNGPs have become an authoritative global norm and objective measure of social responsibility and sustainability.
EDC’s performance is revealed in a joint study by the ASEAN CSR Network, the Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, and human rights organization Article 30. The study titled “Human Rights Disclosure in the ASEAN” aims to provide a regional baseline understanding of human right disclosure that aligns with the UNGPs.
“The results of this study affirm EDC’s commitment to uphold and protect human rights in all levels of our organization, which are all key to fostering sustainability in our business,” said Atty. Allan V. Barcena, EDC’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility-Public Relations. “With guidance from this study, we hope to build on our current efforts to protect the rights of everyone at EDC—including the rights to a safe workplace and protection from unjust practices to name a few.”
The joint study evaluated 250 top-listed companies in the region through the Pillar II of the UNGPs, which establishes the corporate responsibility to protect human rights. The companies participating in the study answered 21 diagnostic questions grouped in six categories: fundamental human rights commitments, policy statements on human rights, operational information, due diligence, monitoring and reporting, and claims and remediation.
During the research process, nine additional diagnostic questions were also utilized to assess whether the companies’ disclosures covered notable human rights themes in the ASEAN. Each company was scored using a 30-point diagnostic framework.
The University of Asia and the Pacific Center for Social Responsibility (UA&P–CSR), an academic business sustainability think tank and a member of the UNGP-BHR Working Group of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, lauded EDC’s performance in its human rights disclosures. According to UA&P–CSR, the spotlight on EDC’s human rights disclosure reveals EDC’s multi-faceted approach to pursuing sustainability.
“EDC’s commitment to environmental protection reached an important milestone when it became the first company in the Philippines to reach a carbon-neutral status. With the findings of this recent study on human rights disclosures of ASEAN firms, EDC establishes that its sustainability agenda also integrated and embedded the protection of human rights within its ranks,” said Prof. Colin L. Hubo, UA&P–CSR Executive Director.
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