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Workers’ Capital News - August 2013

In this issue:

  • Governance and Disclosure

    Burrow on the need for leadership from the G20/ Norway’s oil fund critiqued on human rights due diligence

  • Shareholder Activism

    Update on human rights issues with companies in Burma/ Investor coalitions influence on financial regulatory reform

  • Pensions and Investments

    Avoiding fees through in-house management/ Initiatives on overcoming short-termism in Japan

Governance and Disclosure

Burrow on the need for leadership from the G20

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow recently delivered a speech calling on the G20 and other multilateral institutions to address unemployment and inequality which are causing economic and social instability. Burrow highlighted the need to:  1) create jobs through investments in infrastructure, new green technologies and industries; 2) ensure fair wages; 3) support strong labour laws; 4) ensure social protection; and 5) make large companies pay their taxes. One positive development noted is the G20’s renewed interest in long term investment that could “help institutional and workers’ pension funds move away from short-term investment and increasing exposure to long term project financing infrastructure, job creation and helping meeting climate change challenges”.  For video and audio of the lecture, visit the Lowy Institute event site.

Norway’s oil fund critiqued on human rights due diligence

UNI Global Union has called on Norway’s oil fund to have a greater focus on human rights, including labour rights, as highlighted in a recent Financial Times article. The fund has also been in dispute with the Norwegian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for not having a clear approach on addressing human rights impacts beyond child labour violations.

Shareholder Activism

Update on human rights issues with companies in Burma

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has produced a briefing on recent developments in Burma, with key cases on freedom of association and child labour, as well as positive initiatives. Companies mentioned in the briefing include Cisco Systems, Daewoo International, Google, Vodaphone, as well as several Chinese corporations and others.

Investor coalitions influence on financial regulatory reform

A review of investor coalitions addressing ESG issues, including the CWC, was conducted in early 2013 and is now available for download. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) looked at the work programs and outreach strategies of 20 investor networks, and identifies ways to increase their influence and promote change in the financial market.

Pensions and Investments

Avoiding fees through in-house management

High fees and poor performance of hedge funds has encouraged some major public funds to move to in-house investing, an article in the NY Times reports. The shift is highlighted in association with a group of major public funds that recently met for an Institutional Investors Roundtable gathering.

Initiatives on overcoming short-termism in Japan

As reported in Responsible Investor, Japanese Prime Minister Abe has launched studies into establishing a Stewardship Code (as exists in the UK) as well as a new project through the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry to address stakeholder engagement and long-term value creation.

*Please note that viewing linked articles require a subscription in the case of Responsible Investor.

Disclaimer: The CWC News Digest is a compilation of news items covered in industry publications. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Committee on Workers Capital or its members. Comments and reflections on news items may be sent to acard@share.ca

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