“Established in 2002”
To promote a culture of ethical investments in the churches and faith communities. To monitor multinational corporations operating in Southern Africa and the rest of the African continent to ensure that they meet minimum social, environmental and economic standards. To promote an ethical and critical voice on what constitutes corporate social responsibility
Community Monitoring School operating in 40 South African communities by capacitating communities to tell their stories and engage mining and local government. Present in 6 other African countries, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, DRC, Mozambique, Angola, and Lesotho and present in Tanzania, Botswana, Swaziland, and Kenya.
Works with a number of networks across the Africa, through its African Roundtable on Investment (ART) on research studies covering different sectors and expands its Community Monitoring School Programme.
Strengthening Community Organisations to take on power, achieve just outcomes, that lead to linking community organisation together in formations that further their cause in movement building. The feared Policy Gap Series of studies, a critical research analysis of corporations CSR policies, sustainable development reporting and practices, against the lived experience of communities impacted upon. Strong media voice in mainstream media with coverage exceeding millions of Rand and an opinion maker and trend setter. Credibility with the media is key to this success. Giving voice to communities using social media and main stream media, with the slogan “let them talk”
Addresses skewed power relations between communities and corporations, through intervention that level the playing field between mines and communities that lead to community agency and change.
Has a Corporate Personality Index Test that is a bottom up measurement that compares companies social, economic and environmental performance against a set of indicators, measuring whether they are Respectful or Bullying; Caring or Heartless; Supportive or Undermining; Creative or Destructive; Open or Secretive; Generous or Greedy and used by communities.
Promotes an alternative dispute resolution process initially called the Independent Grievance Mechanism (IGM) and now known as the Independent Problem Solving Service (IPSS) to resolve community issues with mines that lead to developmental outcomes.
3.9 Works closely with other civil society formations across a range of issues, including legislative, campaigns for change and legal actions against mining not complying with the law or attempting to operate in bio ecological sensitive areas, or where communities don’t want them.
Contributed as the last applicant to setting court precedents on community right to say No, in the High Court of Pretoria based on its Policy Gap series of studies in the Xolobeni Wild Coast Amadiba court case.
Is involved in international solidarity work in Germany on Marikana massacre, Switzerland on legal binding human rights due diligence though case studies on Swiss Based companies, including at UN level on access to remedy, and at the Vatican on Mining for the Common Good conversations between mining CEO’s and Churches. Bench Marks works closely with mining impacted communities on alternative economies around mining; is involved in just transition from coal to renewable energy; leading a polit case on my mining rehabilitation in the gold sector, and has a focus on climate catastrophy; and the health and safety of children in mining areas. We work with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and sits on several sub-committees dealing with critical issues facing communities and tries to influence the role of the HRC.
Bench Marks is a highly innovative organisation; occupies space, and speaks out loudly; engages corporations from CEO level downwards; advocates in company’s AGMs and tries to influence the North on government policy, such aid or trade, or investment or aid and is known around the world for its integrity of purpose. Bench Marks is at the cutting edge of accountability in the corporate sector, has changed how mining is viewed, and is both respected and feared but listened to. It shoots far above its weight and is focussed on bringing about change.
3.15 Bench Marks acts locally and in the global arena and is viewed as an authorative voice globally reaching academia, foreign governments and global institutions and has an influence dipropionate to its size.