Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Russia, Iran and China all ranked extreme risk

Countries with poor human rights records pose a serious risk to businesses, warned a consultant.

The warning comes as Maplecroft launched two Human Rights Risk Reports which analyse the threats posed to global companies operating in emerging market countries.

According to the index, which ranks 196 countries, Pakistan (ranked 4), Bangladesh (13), India (14), Russia (15), Iran (16), China (17), Nigeria (18) and Philippines (21) are all rated ‘extreme risk’.

Organisations are at risk of complicity if they have operations in states or with suppliers that operate irresponsibly and without principles or policies.

Emerging market countries represent the world’s fastest growing economies. They are home to over 60% of the global population, own significant natural resources, provide cheaper labour and are increasingly the site of numerous outsourced supply chains and distribution networks. About 70% of the Fortune 500 global companies procure from these economies.

These countries are also home to a large portion of the world’s poor, with tens of millions living on less than a dollar a day, lacking access to clean water and educational resources and vulnerable to exploitation in terms of working conditions and remuneration.

In emerging markets there is rarely sufficient regulatory and enforcement activity and inspectorates are often corrupt and ineffective, warned Maplecroft. This leads to frequent incidents of human rights violations.

The onus is on companies to be proactive and take the initiative to ensure human rights are respected and labour standards are protected, advised the consultant.