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The Bench Marks is one of the most comprehensive sets of social and environmental criteria and business performance indicators available.

Corporations will find the indicators presented in the Bench Marks Principles useful for developing and monitoring corporate codes of conduct, particularly when managing relations with stakeholder bodies. NGOs, stakeholders and investors will find the indicators useful for assessing corporate conduct.

It offers over 100 principles, 129 criteria and 118 Bench Marks to assist companies who are genuine about responsible corporate behaviour. The Principles are statements business makes, outlining philosophies meant to ensure its companies actions are responsible. Criteria relate to the lines along which a company that has committed itself to implement improved corporate performance can develop relevant policies and practices. The Bench Marks Principles offer an ethical standard of measurement on which to base decisions about global corporate social responsibility as, for example, when policies about investment and the management of investments are being developed.

The purpose of the document is to promote positive corporate social responsibility.
The Bench Marks Principles state standards and expectations fundamental to a responsible company's action:

The document is offered to groups working on corporate social responsibility, to workers and to companies seeking to respond to the challenges of doing business in the global economy in a socially responsible manner. Our long-range goal is to transform the way corporations relate to people, communities and the environment. We invite people of all faiths and beliefs to engage in and contribute to the promotion of the principles articulated in the Bench Marks Principles. We believe the broad involvement of a variety of individuals and institutions will deepen the values of corporate responsibility and accountability that will restore human dignity, the integrity of creation and the social order.

Guide to using the Bench Marks Principles

  1. Start off with principles that spell out a company's philosophy.
  2. Engage stakeholders and redefine principles.
  3. Agree on what issues are priorities and draw up policy that sets standards of expected company performance in these areas.
  4. Put these into a code of conduct for each area of focus.
  5. Use the Bench Marks to guide and measure performance of policy and practice.
  6. Can be done incrementally by agreement with stakeholders as long as this does not contradict any local, national or international laws, treaties and conventions.
  7. Continually review progress and implementation and decide on further action.
  8. Use the Bench Marks Principles for public reporting.

The Third Edition Revised and Released in 2003 by the Steering Group of the Global Principles Network.
Text Launched: 18th March 2003

The document is can be viewed online or is available for download in full or sections.

The Bench Marks Foundation

The 'Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility: Bench Marks For Measuring Business Performance' was endorsed in April 1999 by 53 delegates from 22 countries. An international Secretariat was formed and initially based in the United Kingdom. At the Secretariat meeting held in Pretoria, South Africa in October 2002, it was agreed that the Secretariat be based in South Africa.

Please visit www.bench-marks.org.za for more information about the Bench Marks Foundation.