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CSHS Helps Propel New Global Protocol on Human Capital in Business

Aug 28, 2018

PARK RIDGE, Illinois — The Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS), whose member organizations represent more than 100,000 workplace safety and health professionals around the world, is helping to push forward a new global protocol that aims to improve the measurement and value of human capital in corporate decision making and government policy. The protocol is driven by the Social and Human Capital Coalition (SHCC).

CSHS contributed expert viewpoints in June during a three-month public consultation period, and the coalition is now pursuing next steps to bring the protocol to life. First proposed in April 2017, the social and human capital protocol is designed to provide foundational guidance to bring human capital into the mainstream of business decisions. By elevating the importance of people, it can play a key role in a transition to a more sustainable world.

“The good news is that there is growing alignment between organizations in the need for the identification and measurement of human capital in business today,” said Kathy A. Seabrook, CSP, CFIOSH, EurOSHM, chair of the CSHS Board of Directors. “It has to be a multi-stakeholder process resulting in increased investor and customer expectations of corporate sustainability measurement and reporting.”

In its public comments, CSHS stressed the coalition’s protocol must take a strong stand on the public reporting of human capital metrics; assume a leadership role in the standardization of data collection methodology, reporting formats and definitions of terms used in reporting; and conduct pilot programs to test theories and approaches.

Human capital – commonly defined as people’s competencies, capabilities, experience and motivation to innovate – is responsible for carrying out a company’s day-to-day work. That may involve shelving goods at a store, caring for hospital patients, investing assets to provide retirement benefits, or helping to implement an organization’s strategic initiatives.

There is broad consensus that human capital management is an integral part of corporate culture and therefore important to a company’s bottom line and long-term value creation. A large body of empirical work indicates that skillful management of human capital is associated with improved corporate performance, safer and healthier workplaces, and better risk mitigation. Human capital disclosures can shed light on the quality of upper management and the stewardship of a company, possibly signaling broader challenges that lie ahead.

Government policy, investor requests and consumer expectations are all driving companies to better manage their social impacts and dependencies while integrating sustainability into core business principles.

“Greater transparency in human capital management enhances the safety and health sustainability of the workplace,” Seabrook said. “Our push for a higher degree of integrated reporting seeks information on all factors that create value, not just traditional measures of financial and physical capital.”

About the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability
CSHS aims to advance the safety and health sustainability of the global workplace, with a focus on human capital initiatives. CSHS’s work includes research on corporate reporting practices, the development of a best practices guide on reporting occupational safety and health metrics, and a series of workshops on the implications of human capital policies and practices. CSHS engages safety and health partners around the world to work toward minimum standards that help reduce workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. CSHS is a collaborative effort by the American Society of Safety Professionals, American Industrial Hygiene Association, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, and Institution for Occupational Safety and Health. For more details, visit www.centershs.org.

Media contact: Blaine Krage, 847.768.3416, bkrage@assp.org

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