Workers’ capital is invested in companies operating in a globalised economy, with increasingly complex supply chains. By leveraging their retirement savings, workers can influence how companies respect human and labour rights, remain financially sustainable, and minimize adverse impacts on the environment.
Understanding the importance of this role, the CWC (Global Unions Committee on Workers’ Capital), established in 1999, connects labour activists from around the world to promote information sharing and joint action in the field of workers’ capital. Affiliated with major international trade union bodies, including the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Global Unions Federations (GUFs) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC); the CWC is chaired by Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress and hosted by SHARE, a non-profit organization closely tied to the Canadian labour movement.
The work of the CWC, guided by the Global Unions Statement on Responsible Approaches to the Stewardship of Workers’ Capital (2007), is implemented through working groups on shareholder activism, trustee education, and economically targeted investment.
To learn more about the CWC download our Information Brochure.
What do Citigroup and Pacific Brands have in common? Both faced significant ‘say-on-pay’ shareholder votes against executive compensation in 2011-2012, and your pension fund may hold their shares.
Global Proxy Review gives pension fund trustees and other responsible investors an overview of these and other key shareholder votes at companies likely to be held in global equity portfolios. This information can be used to hold fund managers and proxy voting services accountable for the votes cast on behalf of pensioners and investors.
The 2012 report includes 38 votes from eight different countries on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues of particular importance to the labour movement.
Visit: www.workerscapital.org/proxyreview to download the full report
Click here to read the press release
Trustees and investors can now use the Global Proxy Review interactive website to search key votes from the last two years. Go to www.workerscapital.org/proxyreview to start searching and reviewing the voting record for your pension plan!
Can new investment support decent work in a country long known for gross human rights abuses and the use of forced labour?
The CWC is marking World Day for Decent Work with the release of a new Investor Brief on Burma. As the political and economic situation changes rapidly in this once pariah state, trade unions and responsible investors are watching closely to see how business investment proceeds in Burma.
The CWC Investor brief concludes that partial reform, political uncertainty and ongoing forced labour and human rights abuses means Burma is still a very risky place to do business. Institutional investors concerned about the long-term stability of their funds must carefully assess these risks and take responsibility for ensuring the companies they own respect core labour standards and universal human rights principles.
We are calling on investors, particularly trade union pension fund trustees, to support due diligence, disclosure and dispute resolution with regard to human impacts of corporate activity in Burma – what we term a 3-D approach.
Given the country’s high level of corruption and poor record on human rights, companies doing business with or in Burma should:
1.) Formally commit to undertaking human rights due diligence.
2.) Disclose publicly company policies, practices and actions to protect and promote human rights on a regular basis.
3.) Support the creation of effective complaints and dispute-settlement instruments. These requirements should draw on globally-recognized instruments such as ILO Core Labour Standards, the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Click here to access the CWC’s Trade and Human Rights in Burma page and link to the Investor Brief.
Click here to find out more about World Day for Decent Work 2012.
With over 85 participants from 12 different countries, the Scaling Up! 2012 Conference took place in Paris on November 26 and 27 at the OECD conference centre.
The event brought together trade union representatives, pension fund trustees, and corporate governance and responsible investment experts from around the world.
Following opening speeches from Sharan Burrow (General Secretary, ITUC), Xander den Uyl (ABP), John Evans (TUAC), Carolyn Ervin (OECD) and Philippe Desfossés (ERAFP), discussions covered issues such as: overcoming barriers to responsible investing; pension funds & climate change; overcoming corporate short-termism; best practices in trustee education and reponsible investment in France & Spain.
Stay tuned for the full conference report coming shortly!
In conjunction with the CWC's launch of the new Global Proxy Review report, the CWC blog features a new post on Navigating Complexity in Active Ownership: Limits in the E-S-G Framework, co-authored by Catherine Smith (SHARE) and Priya Bala-Miller (CWC).
An excerpt from the blog:
"Those of us who promote responsible investing often talk about "ESG", or environmental, social and governance issues. As highlighted in the CWC's new Global Proxy Review report, while this three-part categorization is useful, it is important to remember that, like any set of categories, it does not always accurately reflect the real issues that investors confront when trying to influence corporations to act responsibly."