The Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity) is dedicated to examining the impact and value of voluntary business-related human rights initiatives. Through research, critical assessment and shared learning, MSI Integrity aims to ensure that these initiatives protect and promote human rights. MSI Integrity takes a particular interest in how the initiatives include and impact affected communities.
MSIs are created when a variety of stakeholders, often companies, governments and civil society, voluntarily collaborate to regulate an aspect of an industry. The number of MSIs has multiplied in recent years and they have become increasingly prominent on the human rights landscape, but there has been little evaluation of their effectiveness. Launched through Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic in April 2013, the Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity) seeks to understand the impact and value of voluntary initiatives that address business and human rights. MSI Integrity has developed tools to evaluate the effectiveness of MSIs at a governance and compliance level based on publicly available information from MSIs.
The Social Impact Hub’s work focused on assisting MSI Integrity to develop methodologies for measuring the on-the-ground impact of MSIs on affected communities from a human rights perspective. Students researched existing human rights impact assessment tools and distilled a set of principles in relation to designing an impact measurement tool for MSIs. In the following semester, students further refined and tested these principles by considering the practicalities of how to assess the changes experienced by factory workers or those who work in agricultural fields since an MSI has been developed. This involved considering how to select a site and community for evaluation, how should the normative human rights framework apply, and how to actually conduct the evaluation to measure changes in human rights.