A coalition of investment service providers, asset managers and asset owners, with assets under management worth $2.2trn, has committed to integrating labour rights into their stewardship practices.
The signatories require boards and senior management of investee companies to take responsibility in overseeing the compliance for labour rights, and the freedom of association and collective bargaining of workers, in addition to providing disclosures on labour-related metrics, it said in a statement.
The signatories of the Labour Rights Investor Network (LRIN) include the New York City Employees’ Retirement System and Teachers’ Retirement System, Folksam in Sweden and the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) in the UK.
The LRIN has its base at the Global Unions’ Committee on Workers’ Capital (CWC), a committee of the International Trade Union Confederation, the Global Union Federations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) advocating for the responsible investment of workers’ capital, the statement added.
The network uses the United Nations and the OECD principles as guidance to engage on labour rights, LRIN said.
“This will enable those investors to improve their human rights due diligence, mitigate risks and uphold responsibilities under international norms and frameworks,” said CWC chair Christoffer Jönsson.
Emilie Westholm, head of responsible investments and corporate governance at Folksam, said that supporting the Labour Rights Investor Network would strengthen the group’s stewardship.
“We expect investee companies to respect freedom of association and collective bargaining, but know far too often this fails to happen in reality. Through gaining resources and hearing insights directly from unions, we believe that the Labour Rights Investor Network will help us address the problem,” she added.
Doug McMurdo, LAPFF chair, said: “Collaborative networking initiatives can increase the effectiveness of investors’ stewardship activity. The creation of a network focused on rights at work could not come at a better time.”