WDI Has a New Home

The Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI), one of the world’s leading corporate disclosure initiatives on labour and human rights, has a new home with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Launched by ShareAction in 2016, the next stage of the WDI’s journey will continue to strengthen responsible business practices as part of the Foundation’s work to foster more inclusive economies and promote human rights.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation and the WDI share a mission to uphold human rights, reduce inequality, and drive positive social change. Through our combined expertise, networks, and global reach, we hope to create a more transparent and equitable corporate ecosystem.

The WDI’s website is under construction and will be available soon.

What is the WDI and what does it do?

The Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) aims to improve corporate transparency and accountability on workforce issues, provide companies and investors with comprehensive and comparable data and help improve access to decent work worldwide.

The WDI’s mission is to drive up the quality and comparability of the information companies provide about labour and human rights issues, so that investors can steward these companies to improve working conditions.

The initiative was founded in 2016 by responsible investment charity ShareAction, with support from the UK government, to address the barriers investors identified in addressing the S of ESG. In its 7 years of incubation, it benefitted from ShareAction’s relationships with institutional investors and connection with regulators and standards-setters on corporate sustainability reporting. As of February 2024, the initiative has transferred to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Over 50 committed investor supporters—asset owners and asset managers, large and small—use their stewardship influence to encourage the world’s largest companies to respond to the annual WDI survey. Around 170 of the world’s largest employers respond to the survey and provide, on average, more than two and a half times more information on labour and human rights risks and opportunities than companies that do not.

This original data, covering more than 13 million direct employees as well as many times more contingent and supply chain workers, informs investment decisions and enables deeper engagement and stewardship to help companies create safer, more meaningful and more rewarding employment opportunities for workers across the world.

The Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) aims to improve corporate transparency and accountability on workforce issues, provide companies and investors with comprehensive and comparable data and help increase the provision of good jobs worldwide.

The WDI investor coalition is made up of 60 institutions, with over $9.5 trillion in assets under management. Through our annual survey and engagement programme we generate new data on workforce practices, which our signatories integrate into their investment analysis, and practical insights on how to address pressing workforce issues.

Ways to get involved in the WDI:

Why does workforce reporting matter?
At a time of rapid change in the labour market, stark social and economic inequalities and growing distrust in the corporate sector, investors, regulators and consumers alike are calling for greater transparency. Workforce disclosure – or reporting – offers companies a way to hold a mirror to their own activities, ensure their policies and practices are aligned with international standards, and demonstrate publicly that their workforce practices are delivering for both the company and its workers.

Why the Workforce Disclosure Initiative?
Designed with the input of investors, companies, trade unions and subject matter experts, the WDI survey has been designed to gather the information on the issues most crucial to decent work and human rights in the workplace. The WDI survey is aligned with other reporting frameworks including DJSI, GRI, the UNGPs and the SDGs, and offers a comprehensive and comparable reporting system.

Run by Thomson Reuters Foundation, the WDI platform allows companies to demonstrate to their investors, clients and other stakeholders how they manage their staff and supply chain workers, and show how their approach to workforce management is aligned with their business strategy.

To date, companies disclosing data to the WDI have provided evidence of efforts to improve health and safety standards, policies and practices related to employee wellbeing, and actions relating to supply chain management.

Company disclosure

Sustainable Development Goal 8 calls for ‘decent work for all’ by 2030. With millions of workers across their operations and supply chains, multinational companies have a vital part to play in achieving this goal, and there are growing calls for them to take action.

Transparency is key to this. By reporting through the WDI companies can get ahead of the curve by demonstrating to their investors, clients and other stakeholders that they are effectively managing their staff and supply chain workers. In 2022, 167 global companies took part in the Initiative, demonstrating their commitment to transparency.

Why disclose to the WDI

  • Effectively showcase how you are managing your workforce to investors via a single, easy-to-use reporting platform;
  • Demonstrate your leadership on workforce issues to a range of stakeholders, including civil society, governments and regulators;
  • Demonstrate that workers’ rights are at the centre of your business, and attract new potential employees and customers;
  • Receive a tailored Disclosure Scorecard which allows you to benchmark yourself against your peers;
    Participate in a series of year-round workshops and webinars covering key workforce issues, featuring investors, trade unions and subject matter experts;
  • Link up teams internally, stimulating detailed and constructive conversations on workforce topics within your organisation;
  • Build resilience and increase profitability by using the data collected to improve workforce conditions across your business.

Investor Subscribers

In the wake of Covid-19, and the uncovering of abuses of workers’ rights, societal expectations of business have increased. The crisis has shone a spotlight on the role that good businesses play in society. The evidence is clear: good management of people is vital for a company’s reputation, resilience and long-term success.

As shareholders, investors are uniquely equipped to make a difference – and they are increasingly demanding change. At the heart of this change will be data. The WDI mobilises investors to encourage companies to disclose comparable and comprehensive data of their workforce practices. Investors use the data to engage with companies on key issues impacting their business and workers, and by making workforce reporting a mainstream issue, they help to raise standards and an increase in the quality of jobs globally.

Why become an investor signatory

  • Access to the WDI’s exclusive investor dashboard, including privately reported data and company scorecards, covering a range of workplace issues, and all major industry sectors for use in stewardship activities;
  • Access to both company level and aggregate data, to improve quality and efficiency of company engagement around workforce issues;
  • Opportunity to feed into company selection and questionnaire development to ensure company disclosure aligns with your priorities;
  • Access to public and non-public reports and analyses produced by the WDI team;
  • Year round opportunities to participate in roundtables, workshops and webinars bring investors and investee companies together to discuss workforce issues;
  • Opportunities to speak and share strategic approach to workforce issues with networks of peers and companies;
  • Opportunity to be leader on workforce issues and to contribute to the improvement of the conditions of workers globally.