$4.8 Trillion Investor Coalition Announces Support for World’s First Business & Human Rights Benchmark

Tuesday 14 June (London) – A coalition of over 80 investors, with $4.8 trillion in assets under management, has pledged support for the creation of the world’s first wide-scale benchmark on companies’ human rights policies, processes and practices, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) said today.

The investors included in this statement are some of the world’s largest and most influential investors including: Boston Common Asset Management, Aviva Investors, APG Asset Management, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Church of Sweden and Australian Ethical Investment.  A full list of investor signatories can be found below.

This coalition of investors originally came together in February 2015 to lend its support to the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, as a critical means to advance meaningful disclosure of companies’ human rights performance. Given recent momentum in this area, the group has decided to add its support to the CHRB by amending the UNGPRF Investor Statement to include the following paragraph:

“The undersigned signatories welcome and support the creation of the Corporate Human Right Benchmark (CHRB) which has announced it will provide a free public ranking of major companies starting with particularly exposed sectors and based on information published through the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework and other public information from and about companies on human rights issues. We encourage companies to make proper disclosure under the UNGP Reporting Framework.”’

The $4.8tn investor coalition led by Boston Common argues that those companies that do not proactively assess and manage human rights issues face potential legal, reputational and other financial risks; while those who meet the ‘corporate responsibility to respect human rights’ gain competitive advantage.

Lauren Compere, Managing Director at Boston Common Asset Management said, “Investors want to protect value by knowing human rights risks are being monitored and managed by the companies they invest in. The CHRB is a critical tool, creating the analytical environment for investors to understand what good corporate human rights performance looks like. CHRB further supports the need for companies to use disclosure frameworks such as the UNGP Reporting Framework to know and show how they are respecting human rights.”

Steve Waygood, Chair of the CHRB Steering Committee and Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors, said: “There is no question that human rights issues are material to the financial performance of some companies. I welcome the support this $4.8 trillion investor coalition has given to the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark today. This statement once again signals a desire by investors to drive improved corporate human rights performance around the world through greater accessibility of transparent information and performance ratings.”

Read the full investor statement

ENDS

For more information, contact:

NOTES TO EDITOR:

Investor Statement

The full investor statement can be found here.

The investor coalition has been coordinated by Boston Common Asset Management and the names of the lead investor signatories are below. Additional investors are also listed in the investor statement. Additional investors are expected to sign the statement of support in the future.

  • Boston Common Asset Management
  • F & C Investments
  • APG Asset Management
  • Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
  • Aviva Investors
  • Calvert Investments
  • Robeco
  • Church of Sweden
  • BNP Paribas Investment Partners
  • MN Services
  • Alliance Trust
  • Rockefeller Sustainability and Impact Investing Group
  • Hermes Equity Ownership Services
  • Domini Social Investments LLC
  • NEI Investments
  • Walden Asset Management

About the CHRB

The CHRB, through an open-source evidence based approach, will rank the world’s 500 largest publicly listed companies on their approach to human rights. It will provide a comparative snapshot year-on-year of corporate human rights performance, looking at policies, processes and practices companies have in place to systematize their human rights approach and how they respond when things go wrong.  The benchmark relies on information in the public domain.

The first results of this free and public business and human rights benchmark will be published in November 2016. This pilot benchmark will include the top 100 companies from the agricultural products, apparel and extractives industries.

For more information on the CHRB, visit http://www.corporatebenchmark.org

The CHRB was founded by six organisations:

  • Aviva Investors is the global asset management business of Aviva plc. The business delivers investment management solutions, services and client-driven performance to clients worldwide. Aviva Investors operates in 15 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and the United Kingdom with assets under management of £290 billion as at 31 December 2015.
  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is an international NGO that tracks the human rights impacts (positive and negative) of over 6500 companies in over 180 countries making information available on its nine language website.
  • Calvert Investments is an investment management firm and leader in sustainable and responsible investment strategies.
  • EIRIS (now part of Vigeo Eiris), is a global provider of environmental, social, governance (ESG) research to investors and corporates.
  • The Institute for Human Rights and Business is the leading international think tank on business and human rights. Founded in 2009, its mission is to shape policy, advance practice and strengthen accountability of businesses and governments so that the activities of companies do not lead to adverse impacts on people.
  • VBDO is the Dutch association of investors for sustainable development that aims at a sustainable capital market, considering financial as well as non-financial ESG criteria.
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