By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Together with The Economist Intelligence Unit and an international alliance of governments and businesses, WeiserMazars LLP and Mazars Group continue helping to develop global standards for human rights reporting and assurance for business with their involvement in a new survey. The firm’s Practice Leader , Howard Dorman, has a personal stake in the work since both of his parents were Holocaust survivors.
We first talked with Dorman, who is also the President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education at Brookdale Community College in Middletwon, New Jersey, after the release of a discussion paper where WeiserMazars partnered with Shift, a leading non-profit center dealing with business and
human rights back in July.
This most recent effort on the project includes the launch of a survey partnering WeiserMazars together with Mazars Group, The Economist Intelligence Unit and an international alliance of governments, NGO’s and businesses worldwide. The research will be conducted by the EIU and build an in-depth picture of businesses’ awareness of, commitment to and progress in improving human rights. We talked with Dorman about WeiserMazars’ ongoing commitment to this latest leg of the journey. He began our conversation by discussing the support the project is receiving.
“We’ve got buy in from all the affected stakeholders and that’s really the key,” he said. “When I say affected stakeholders, I mean the companies, community, NGOs and government, anyone that’s really involved.”
The EIU will secure responses from 750 businesses worldwide, with 50% of respondents being C-suite executives and 50% senior managers across diverse businesses. A research report detailing findings is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2015.
Dorman went on to explain what WeiserMazars is doing to further these objectives.
“We’re trying to understand what companies are doing and their commitment. This survey is going to C-level people throughout the world at multinational companies and we’re asking upper level management like CEOs and counsel what their level of commitment is and how is it embedded in their culture.”
He said the survey will also ask directors working at the level of social responsibility how they see the efforts working.
“We often sit in an Ivory Tower and say this is what we’re doing, but we want to know what is really happening,” he said adding that while many companies are very philanthropic about their commitment to human rights, there’s not much to show concerning changing or fixing the embedded culture.
“There are three keywords and ideas that need to be focused on,” he said. “Respect, Protect and how do we Remedy problems. That’s what you need to build into the culture of the company and that’s what our impetus is. We’re trying to get a temperature check on the way things are being handled.”