Workers Capital News - October 2015

In this issue:

  • PRI Election reminder: Xander den Uyl’s candidacy; ABP's new RI strategy; TUSO calls for new leadership at Sports Direct; Too Big to Fail Banks: New Resources from the TLF; 2015 CWC Conference resources; The Financial System We Need: Aligning the Financial System with Sustainable Development

PRI Election reminder: Xander den Uyl’s candidacy

Voting in the board election for the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is open for two more weeks, until 17:00 GMT Monday 9 November. It is very important for the CWC and workers’ capital in general to have union and trustee voices on the PRI board. Xander den Uyl has been nominated by ABP, and “would be well placed to represent the workers’ interest,” says Ton Heerts, Chair of the CWC. Each asset owner signatory has two votes for two open asset owner positions on the board. Click here to view and download Xander’s candidacy statement. If you are a signatory of the PRI and have not done so already, please communicate support for Xander to fund staff and other signatories as well.

Xander will also be speaking at ESG 2.0: long-term value creation in the investment chain, an RI event in London on November 19 on ABP’s new responsible investment policy (see next news item.) The plenary, Time for managers to get real and fully commit to ESG integration, will include speakers from PGGM and MSCI and be moderated by Rob Lake.

ABP's new RI strategy

The Dutch pension fund ABP has announced its new responsible investment strategy, according to Responsible Investor, which is said to include a reduction in the number of investment types and better engagement with companies, according to Responsible Investor. The policy will enhance the fund’s focus on sustainable companies and increase investments in environmentally-friendly options, such as renewable and clean technology.

Webinar-Qatar: Investor Responsibilities & Human Rights Risks in Construction

SHARE, the Canadian contact point for the CWC-coordinated Qatar engagement, will be hosting a webinar on the international shareholder engagement effort to address human rights risks and responsibilities in Qatar's construction sector. The webinar will touch on the current situation of migrant workers in the construction industry in Qatar and the role and responsibilities of companies and investors under international norms and standards – including the UN Guiding Principles and OECD Guidelines for MNEs. The webinar will take place on 29 October at 6:30 CET/5:30 London/1:30 pm Eastern/ 10:30 am Pacific (click to register). Speakers include: Jin Sook Lee, Migration, Gender and Campaign Director, BWI; Annabel Short, Program Director, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre; and Hugues Létourneau, ESG Analyst, SHARE.

TUSO calls for new leadership at Sports Direct

The Trade Union Share Owners (TUSO) group has called for Sports Direct to commit to improved treatment of its workers and address reputational risks via changes in its corporate leadership. The company’s chief executive, David Forsey, is currently facing criminal charges regarding a related company. Sports Direct has been repeatedly criticized for its labour practices, including having 75% of staff on zero hour contract and reports of numerous warehouse workers becoming ill and requiring emergency medical attention. Click here to read the press release.

Too Big to Fail Banks: New Resources from the TLF

The Trustee Leadership Forum (TLF) has shared new resources following its webinar on Too Big to Fail Banks: Risk-Return Considerations for Pension Funds last month. Speakers included Heather Slavkin Corzo, Director of the AFL-CIO Office of Investment, and Simon Johnson, Professor of Global Economics and Management at MIT. A recording of the webinar is available, as well as a new TFL note on Too Big to Fail Banks, providing an overview of the issues and recommendations for what trustees can do. 

2015 CWC Conference resources

On 7-8 September, more than 110 participants took part in the 2015 Workers’ Capital Conference in London to discuss opportunities and challenges with respect to the responsible stewardship of workers’ capital in a global context. Presentations andsupporting documents have been posted on the intrantet of the CWC website, and the conference report will be available in due course.

The Financial System We Need: Aligning the Financial System with Sustainable Development

The UNEP-FI Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System has released its global report, The Financial System We Need, asserting that this is a historic moment to shape a financial system that can more effectively finance the development of an inclusive, green economy. The report outlines that this opportunity is based on a growing trend in policy innovation from central banks, financial regulators and standard setters incorporating sustainability factors into the financial system. Practical examples of policy changes in institutional investment and a Framework for Action are showcased to outline a systematic approach to be pursued both nationally and internationally.

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