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Happy New Year, and I hope you are all are doing well in spite of the current bumps in the road. 

It seems too many recent world events have brought the risks to people into sharp focus that require our urgent attention. Clearly, our collective work to promote respect for human rights is more relevant than ever. 

At the beginning of this year, I assumed the role of Program Director for the Investor Alliance for Human Rights – a mandate both honoring and humbling – and I look forward to working with our investor members in advancing our ongoing work on so many important fronts. A search is also underway for an Associate Program Director to round out our staff and we hope to announce the hire soon. 

This newsletter will bring you up to speed on our current and upcoming work in 2021 and there are many opportunities to participate and contribute, so we urge you to give it more than a cursory read. We have also included a new “Perspectives” feature in our newsletter, where we will hear directly from our members, allies, and partners - our community - about new ideas, tools, networks and strategies to promote corporate respect for human rights.  If you are interested in submitting your  opinion (500-750 words) focused on business and human rights issues, we invite you to email your submissions to me. 

I invite your feedback, questions and ideas to make our collective work more meaningful and impactful so please be in touch at  I look forward to our work together and again, a happy, productive New Year to you all.

Anita Dorett

Program Director
Investor Alliance for Human Rights

From Theory to Practice: Embedding Investor Responsibility at the Institutional Level: The Investor Alliance led a session at the ICCR Fall Conference with 160 investor registrants around the practical  implementation of the Investor Alliance’s  Investor Toolkit on Human Rights. A panel of investors shared their successes and challenges in designing and implementing their human rights responsibilities within their own organizations. You can view the recording here

Coming Soon:  Capacity-building sessions with members, investors and partners to utilize the Investor Toolkit to understand and embed investors' human rights responsibilities throughout the investment lifecycle. 

Risk briefing on Palantir Technologies: Prior to its public listing last September, the Investor Alliance published a supplemental briefing for investors to highlight and contextualize Palantir's human rights and governance risks, particularly as it relates to its big data analytics contracts with government agencies and private companies in the United States (including Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)) and internationally.
Seeking renewed dialog with BlackRock: Earlier this month, the Investor Alliance requested a dialog with BlackRock to discuss upcoming human rights shareholder resolutions, including proposals asking companies to conduct human rights due diligence and impact assessments.

Mandatory Human Right Due Diligence: The Investor Alliance continues to represent and amplify the investor voice in support of mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (mHREDD) legislation in the EU and contributed in November of last year to a compendium of reflections (see pp. 44 to 47), published by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. The Alliance has also provided the Project Taskforce on EU Standards recommendations on the EU non-financial reporting standards. Finally, the Alliance submitted this month a response to the EU's public consultation on its Sustainable Corporate Governance Initiative encompassing the proposed mHREDD legislation, supporting the need for robust mechanisms to enforce mHREDD requirements, including legal liability for failure to conduct effective HRDD and clear access to remedy for victims and affected communities. 
The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: The Investor Alliance supported several policy efforts, including proposed U.S. legislation and related government agency action in the U.S. (1307 petition), and submissions to the U.K. Parliamentary Committee to ban the import of products made with Uyghur forced labor. On International Human Rights Day, the Investor Alliance also sent a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in support of a UN-led independent investigation to report, monitor and document the situation in the Uyghur Region, in line with similar calls by civil society and human rights experts. Reports on findings from such investigations will inform investors’ and companies’ human rights due diligence processes.
The Investor Working Group on the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: This multi-stakeholder group, including Investor Alliance and ICCR members as well as civil society experts, has launched investor actions to address the egregious human rights harms in the Uyghur Region arising from the mass surveillance and forced labor of citizens. This includes a corporate engagement campaign in collaboration with a group of PRI signatories (led by Rathbones) involving up to 40 companies across different sectors and the endorsement of the Call to Action to disengage from violating business relationships in the region.
Coming Soon: Investor Statement on Corporate Accountability for Digital Rights



uman Rights Risks in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region - Practical Guidance for Investors: Amid mounting calls from civil society and human rights groups for brands to exit the Uyghur Region in Xinjiang China due to egregious human rights abuses, the Investor Alliance published a guidance to help investors assess their potential risks, with tools they can use to engage relevant portfolio companies.

 See more tools from the Investor Alliance



EU Mandatory Due Diligence Legislation: What Investors Need to Know and Why They Should Care

A blog by Johannes Blankenbach & Saskia Wilks, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

We are now at a watershed moment, and responsible companies and investors stand to gain when reform comes into effect. However, tangible benefits for workers and communities around the world will be the only real measure of success. They have been waiting for this moment too long already. Read more.



Webinar: Corporate Accountability - Respecting Digital Rights: The Investor Alliance will be hosting a webinar on February 25 with Ranking Digital Rights on the upcoming launch of their 2020 index which evaluates 26 global ICT companies’ disclosed policies and practices affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy. Please join us by registering here.

Webinar: ICCR's 2021 Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide Preview. On February 26 from 11:30 am-12:30 pm ET, ICCR will share an overview of members' 2021 resolutions and preview ICCR's 2021 Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide.  This webinar will help contextualize the 239 resolutions that were filed by ICCR and Investor Alliance members for this proxy season, with a deeper discussion of key campaigns led by members responsible for these initiatives. Register here to reserve your spot.

Sign-on Opportunity: Investors can sign onto the Investor Statement Calling on Companies to Improve Performance on the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, along with the already 206 investors representing US$5.7 trillion in assets under management. This Investor Statement calls on companies that have scored 0 on human rights due diligence in the CHRB reports to publicly demonstrate their respect for human rights by conducting human rights due diligence. Please sign-on here.



Addressing Root Causes of Attacks on Environmental Rights Defenders through Collective Approach: The 10/20 webinar informed institutional investors how they can support environmental human rights defenders. The webinar was co-organized with Zero Tolerance Initiative, Global Witness, Business and Human Rights Resource Center, and International Service on Human Rights. 

Human Rights Crisis in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: The 10/29 webinar increased investor understanding of business complicity in human rights harms in the Uyghur Region and proposed investor action through corporate engagement and other collaborative efforts with other stakeholders and rights-holders to address this crisis.

Corporate Human Rights Benchmark: Turning the 2020 Report Findings Into Action: In collaboration with the World Benchmarking Alliance, the 11/23 webinar presented key findings of the 2020 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Report.

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