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Leadership transition at the Investor Alliance 
The Investor Alliance for Human Rights was launched two years ago as an initiative of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), in May 2018. Having established a strong foundation for holistic investor action on human rights, Director Paloma Muñoz Quick and Associate Director Sara Blackwell have decided to transition out of ICCR. They will continue to work with ICCR through the end of June to help advance priority projects. Effective June 1, ICCR's David Schilling and Anita Dorett will take on interim leadership of the Investor Alliance. See ICCR’s announcement here.

Amid COVID-19, new Investor Toolkit on Human Rights outlines roadmap for addressing risks to people in investments
On May 19, the Investor Alliance released its flagship Investor Toolkit on Human Rights for asset managers and owners to use in practically embedding respect for human rights across their investment activities and relationships. This comes in the midst of the current international COVID-19 crisis, where systemic economic and social inequalities across societies have been laid bare and exacerbated, and the precarious foundation that financial markets rely upon is evident now more than ever. Among others, Sustainable Brands and TriplePundit have covered the importance of the Investor Toolkit since its release last week. See more under ‘Tools’ below.

Investors with US$5 trillion call on governments to institute mandatory human rights due diligence measures for companies
On April 21, a group of 105 international investors led by the Investor Alliance and representing US$5 trillion in AUM called on governments to put in place regulatory measures requiring companies to conduct ongoing risk management regarding risks to people associated with their business activities. The statement demonstrates that responsible investors around the globe are increasingly coalescing around the need to ensure that companies integrate respect for human rights at the heart of their business. Upon its release, the statement was sent to government contacts across the represented regions, including Europe, North America, and Australia. Listen to this interview with Associate Director Sara Blackwell and Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management to learn more.

European Commission promises mandatory human rights due diligence legislation in 2021
On April 29, European Union (EU) Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders announced a commitment to introduce EU-wide mandatory human rights due diligence legislation in 2021. Mentioning the Investor Alliance-led statement of support for this type of legislative effort (see item above) in his remarks, Commissioner Reynders made the commitment in a virtual high-level event hosted by the EU Parliament’s Responsible Business Conduct working group. View a recording of the event here.

Investors with over US$4.5 trillion call out leading companies over human rights performance
On March 23, a group of 176 institutional investors led by the Investor Alliance and representing over US$4.5 trillion in AUM joined forces to call out the poor human rights performance of the 95 worst performing companies in the latest Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB). The investor statement urges companies to improve their performance on five key human rights due diligence indicators in advance of the next CHRB assessment in 2020. This initiative has led to a series of corporate engagements aimed at improving corporate human rights performance and received coverage in the Financial Times and Ethical Corporation, among others.

Alphabet faces investor pressure on human rights
Members of the Investor Alliance have filed a number of human rights-related shareholder resolutions with Alphabet, the parent company of Google. In March, the Financial Times and Proxy Preview covered a resolution co-filed by investors representing over US$2.5 trillion in AUM, with support from the Investor Alliance. The resolution calls on Alphabet to set up a board-level human rights risk oversight committee to oversee how the company manages the human rights risks of its business model. Alphabet’s AGM takes place on June 3.

Investors with over US$200 billion support BankTrack Human Rights Benchmark
On March 17, a group of 80 investors led by the Investor Alliance and representing over US$200 billion released a statement of support for the latest BankTrack Human Rights Benchmark. The Benchmark analyzes the public disclosure of 50 of the world’s largest banks against four aspects of implementation of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights across each company’s banking activities. The statement’s signatory investors welcome the Benchmark and commit to incorporating its findings in investment analysis, voting, and other engagement practices.

Urgent need to focus on the most vulnerable amid COVID-19 pandemic
In a recent blog post and podcast episode, Shift President and Co-Founder Caroline Rees discusses how the current COVID-19 crisis has surfaced the underlying issues of a ‘stakeholder capitalism’ approach and argues that, for this form of capitalism to succeed, a focus on the most vulnerable people across societies is critical. Shift has also published new tools for investors to use in interpreting corporate human rights disclosures, with a focus on vulnerable groups and gender.

Investor Toolkit on Human Rights
On May 19, the Investor Alliance launched its flagship Investor Toolkit on Human Rights, which provides a practical roadmap and ready-to-use tools for institutional investors to address risks to people in their own business and across their investment value chains. The Investor Toolkit comes at a critical time, as significant shifts in global financial systems are underway. A group of leading asset owners and managers from a range of countries provided input throughout the process of developing the Investor Toolkit. Civil society organizations, trade unions, investor associations, international organizations, benchmarks, national human rights institutions, and research organizations also provided feedback. The full Investor Toolkit and its Executive Summary can be downloaded here.

Safeguarding Human Rights Defenders: Practical Guidance for Investors 
On April 28, the Investor Alliance, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, and the International Service for Human Rights published practical guidance for institutional investors to use in assessing whether they are connected to harms against human rights defenders through portfolio companies. The guidance outlines key steps, tools, and examples to support investors in preventing, mitigating, and addressing risks to defenders across investment portfolios. In a comment piece in Ethical Corporation, Investor Alliance partners discuss why safeguarding labor rights and rights to land and resources is a strategic imperative for companies and investors alike.

Tools for engaging the information and communications technology (ICT) sector
The Investor Alliance has completed its set of five investor briefings on the impacts of ICT companies, with new briefings on discrimination and political participation. The full series of salient issue briefings guides investors on the human rights responsibilities of ICT companies and provides practical guidance on engaging portfolio companies on some of the most pressing human rights challenges of our time. 

Human Rights Risks Briefing: Palantir Technologies
In November 2019, the Investor Alliance published a human rights risk briefing for direct and indirect investors in Palantir Technologies, a company whose “mission critical” relationship with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) exposes people to human rights risks and the company to significant material risks. The briefing provides practical guidance for investors to use in calling on Palantir to implement stronger human rights governance mechanisms, policies, and due diligence practices. The briefing received coverage in Reuters and Forbes.

Ranking Digital Rights (RDR): Winter 2020 Investor Update
The third edition of the RDR Investor Update draws on the findings of the 2019 RDR Corporate Accountability Index to offer insights on the key human rights risks of the world’s most important internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies. Subsequently, RDR released two reports (here and here) on the connection between surveillance-based business models and the health of democracy.

ShareAction’s Point of No Returns - Human Rights
This month, ShareAction released an assessment of 75 asset managers' approaches to human and labor rights. The study shows that, while 76% of the assessed asset managers say they have a commitment on human rights, just 4% of the assessed managers have a dedicated human rights policy and 72% of them only cover human rights in wider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies. Another 9% only cover human rights in specific funds and mandates (i.e. ESG-specific funds) rather than holistically integrating human rights across their investment activities. n between surveillance-based business models and the health of democracy.

Measuring Business Respect for Human Rights
Shift's Valuing Respect Project is a collaborative effort to develop tools that can help companies and their stakeholders focus their resources on outcomes for people. In an effort to determine what types of corporate governance arrangements and leadership actions embed a culture of respect for people, Shift recently published a beta tool that provides a menu of leadership and governance indicators. The indicators help investors in evaluating a company’s progress towards building a rights-respecting culture.


Webinar: Distant Water Fishing Fleets - Preventing Forced Labour and Trafficking
Hosted by IHRB’s Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment and ICCR.
June 1, 9:00am-10:30am EDT. Register here.

Webinar: Labor Rights Risks Connected to Teleperformance’s Response to COVID-19
Co-hosted by the French Responsible Investment Network (FIR) and Sycomore Asset Management.
June 5, 2:30pm-3:30pm CET. Register here. 

Webinar: Towards Effective EU Mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Legislation
Co-hosted by Oxfam, ECCJ, CorA, FIDH, and Brot Für Die Welt.
June 8, 2:00pm-4:00pm CET. Register here.

United Nations Virtual Forum on Responsible Business and Human Rights
Co-hosted by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, UNDP, ILO, UNICEF, UN Women, and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
June 9-12. Register here.

Webinar: Assessing Forced Labor Risks in the ICT Sector as COVID-19 Raises Risks
Co-hosted by ICCR, KnowTheChain, and the Investor Alliance.
June 11, 10:00am-11:00am EDT. Register here.

Webinar: Launching Understanding Systemic Social Risk - A Roadmap for Financial Industry Action 
Co-hosted by Humanity United, Freedom Fund, UBS Optimus Foundation, and the Investment Integration Project.
June 11, 11:00am-12:00pm EDT. Register here

Responsible Investor Digital Festival: Summer 2020
Lead sponsor: Robeco.
June 15-19. Register here.



Webinar: Human Rights Impact Assessments 
Hosted by the Investor Alliance.
May 28. View the recording here.

Webinar: Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act
Co-hosted by the Investor Alliance and NEI Investments.
April 22. View the recording here.

Webinar: Tackling the Intersection of Human Rights, Technology, and Investment 
Hosted by the Investor Alliance.
March 19. View the recording here.

Investor Briefing: The Importance of Responsible Recruitment in Assessing Modern Slavery Risk
Hosted by Clifford Chance and co-organized by the Investor Alliance, IHRB’s Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, and ICCR.
January 24. View the recording here.

A 'Smart Mix' for Responsible Investment: The Role of Government in Ensuring Investor Respect for Human Rights
Hosted by the Investor Alliance at the 2019 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.
November 25. More information here.

Webinar: BankTrack's 2019 Human Rights Benchmark
Hosted by the Investor Alliance.
November 21. View the recording here.

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Investor Alliance for Human Rights · 475 Riverside Dr Ste 1842 · New York, NY 10115-0034 · USA

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