Over the past several decades, a surge of voluntary initiatives has emerged to address the human rights impacts of businesses. These include: multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), which are collaborations among various stakeholders such as corporations, civil society, government, and local communities; industry-led standard-setting initiatives; and public-private partnerships (PPPs) between business and government to address industry impacts. MSIs have received particular attention, including mention in the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, for their perceived legitimacy and putative potential to impact human rights given their greater resources, flexibility, and collaborative nature. As a result, MSI Integrity has focused its attention on MSIs, which continue to grow in prominence. At this stage, it is not practicable to evaluate all MSIs. We have developed a set of criteria to be weighed in the selection of MSIs for evaluation. MSI Integrity is committed to continuous application and revision of its methodology and will periodically revisit these criteria.


MSI Integrity selects voluntary initiatives for evaluation based on the following criteria:

Threshold criteria

MSI Integrity seeks to evaluate voluntary initiatives that:

  1. Bring together various stakeholders, such as corporations, civil society, governments, and affected communities;
  2. Set standards for some or all members to follow, adhere to, or implement; and
  3. Directly or indirectly address human rights impacts with their standards.
Selection criteria

In selecting particular MSIs for evaluation, MSI Integrity looks for:

  1. Diversity among the MSIs we evaluate. This diversity contributes to the legitimacy of evaluations by ensuring a balance of focus and increases the breadth of data and knowledge on different MSIs. MSI Integrity focuses on common aspects of MSI design across sectors in order to distill broader lessons for dialogue between different MSIs, industries, and stakeholder groups.The group of MSIs selected for evaluation should display:
    (a) Geographical diversity;
    (b) Different industry concentrations;
    (c) Varying structure, size, age, and level of development; and
    (d) A mix of global- and local-level focus.
  2. Availability of information on the MSI. In order to provide detailed evaluation and analysis of an MSI’s design, MSI Integrity requires information on a variety of aspects of the MSI. This information may be publicly available, or the MSI may indicate a willingness to provide it through an engagement process with MSI Integrity. During initial iterations of evaluations, MSI Integrity will focus on MSIs that are open to evaluation and engagement. Where possible, this cooperative engagement process will be specified through a Terms of Reference.


Past MSI Selection for Pilot Evaluations

Our pilot round of MSI evaluations includes five MSIs that covered a diverse range of industries and geography, stages of development, human rights concerns, and global- or local-levels of focus. The MSI evaluated are the: Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C Association); Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); Fair Labor Association (FLA); Global Network Initiative (GNI); and Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).