Top investors to collaborate on human rights

August 12, 2021

Top international investment organisations are in talks to launch a new collaboration to promote human rights in the corporate world, according to Responsible Investor.

In a report published this week, Responsible Investor said the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) was exploring the establishment of an international body similar to Climate Action 100+ to focus on engagement on human rights issues.

The publication reported that the PRI’s project would focus on two sectors in the first instance, before building it out and identifying 30 major companies with which to engage.

The organisation is currently recruiting for a new member of staff to lead the development of the project, with an advisory board set to be established later this year.

One of the main international bodies currently focused on human rights is the Investor Alliance for Human Rights (IAHR), launched in 2018 by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

Minerva Analytics is a member, alongside asset managers such as BMO Global Asset Management, Kempen Capital Management, and Robeco, as well as major asset owners including Sweden’s AP2, France’s Ircantec, and the Netherlands’ APG.

The PRI published guidelines on establishing a human rights strategy in October 2020. It set out a three-stage process, recommending that investors agree to a human rights policy, establish due diligence processes, and enable or provide access to a remedy.

The PRI’s article stated: “To effectively implement the due diligence and access to remedy requirements, investors can use their investment decisions, stewardship of investees and dialogue with policy makers and other stakeholders.

“To understand their exposure and the actions required, investors need to request information from throughout the value chain: from their investment managers, other service providers and/or investees. Investors set expectations and influence others – to know, act on and show how they manage harm to people arising from their business activities and relationships.”

In the same article, the organisation said it was working on a “multi-year agenda” for its efforts to incorporate human rights considerations into the financial system, using the United Nations’ Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights as a starting point.

Within four years, the PRI said it wanted all its signatories to “respect human rights as defined in the UNGPs”.

Last Updated: 13 August 2021