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Workers’ Capital News - July 2013

In this issue:

  • Shareholder Activism

    Major Dutch funds divest from Wal-Mart due to labour concerns/ Push for climate policies to support investment

  • Pensions and Investments

    Trade union pension experts discuss reforms, risks/ Serving the long-term interests of beneficiaries

  • Governance and Disclosure

    Global forum on OECD Guidelines/ UK Law Commission to review fiduciary duty

Shareholder Activism

Major Dutch funds divest from Wal-Mart due to labour concerns

PGGM and two metal pension funds, PME and PMT, have indicated that they will divest their stakes in Wal-Mart after unsuccessful attempts to engage the company on its labour practices, as reported by IPE.  In particular, limitations on freedom of association – which contravene ILO international labour standards – were highlighted in the decision. The move follows a similar decision taken by Dutch fund APG in early 2012.

Push for climate policies to support investment

Also reported by IPE, the IIGCC (Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change) is calling for strong, consistent climate policies for Europe. In response to the European Commission’s green paper on climate and energy policies, the group highlighted the need for policy certainty to produce the low-carbon energy market necessary to reach targeted emission reductions. The group includes over 80 major European institutional investors, including pension funds.

Pensions and Investments

Trade union pension experts discuss reforms, risks

TUAC pension experts participated in a meeting on June 5th to discuss risks that have resulted from post-2008 wave of pension reform. Key issues included the development of defined contribution schemes, the impact of austerity measures on retirement security and the potential to enhance long-term investment by institutional investors, among other topics. Outcomes and key messages from the meeting can be found here.

Serving the long-term interests of beneficiaries

As reported by Top 1000 Funds, strategies on implementing long-term investment mandates based on the 2012 Generation Investment white paper, Sustainable Capitalism, were explored at an event hosted by the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management. Eighty fund representatives from around the globe participated in a workshop, summarized in the insight paper, Ten Strategies for Pension Funds to Better Serve Their Beneficiaries.

Governance and Disclosure

Global forum on OECD Guidelines

The OECD held an inaugural global meeting at the end of June to discuss responsible business and the implementation of the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. Responsible business conduct and the financial sector - in particular defining due diligence for financial institutions such as pension funds - was part of the agenda, with a review of current practices. This topic is particularly important to pension funds as a case against a Norwegian fund continues to unfold, as reported by Responsible Investor.

UK Law Commission to review fiduciary duty

To follow up on the findings of the Kay Review, the Law Commission is seeking to clarify guidance on legal and fiduciary duty. The review will determine whether long-term investment can be taken under current definitions of fiduciary responsibility, or whether changes to the law must be taken. Consultation will begin in October 2013 with initial findings scheduled for summer 2014, Professional Pensions reports.

*Please note that viewing linked articles requires registering for free in the case of  IPE online sites, and 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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