Human Rights

Ethical fund managers fail to meet investors’ concerns over climate change

Ethical investment managers are failing to meet the climate change concerns of retail investors in the choice of businesses to exclude from their funds.

Retail investors want ethical funds to exclude businesses involved in fossil fuels and violations of human rights in their supply chains, but investment managers are mostly screening out controversial weapons and tobacco. The Sydney Morning Herald
By John Collett
July 3, 2019

Modern Slavery Act – Investment implications

Jonathan’s comment: this is an Australian article but same principles apply in New Zealand / Aotearoa.

If a business model relies on underpaid workers, or even slavery, or weak regulation on social issues, current earnings will unlikely be sustainable. Also, brand damage can lead to loss of sales. InvestorDaily

Here’s a Way to Fight Climate Change: Empower Women

“Gender and climate are inextricably linked,” said environmentalist and author Katharine Wilkinson on stage recently at TEDWomen, a gathering of women thought leaders and activists in Palm Desert, California.

Why the business model of social media giants like Facebook is incompatible with human rights

Facebook has had a bad few weeks. The social media giant had to apologise for failing to protect the personal data of millions of users from being accessed by data mining company Cambridge Analytica. Outrage is brewing over its admission to spying on people via their Android phones. Its stock price plummeted, while millions deleted their accounts in disgust.

Facebook has also faced scrutiny over its failure to prevent the spread of “fake news” on its platforms, including via an apparent orchestrated Russian propaganda effort to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

Facebook’s actions – or inactions – facilitated breaches of privacy and human rights associated with democratic governance. But it might be that its business model – and those of its social media peers generally – is simply incompatible with human rights. The Conversation – April 3, 2018

Human rights abuses a risk beyond emerging markets

Human rights abuses in company supply chains are not found only in emerging markets, one of the world’s top responsible investment professionals says.

NZ Super Fund head of responsible investing Anne Maree O’Connor, who was recently ranked eighth among the world’s most influential responsible investment specialists in the 2017 survey of Independent Research in Responsible Investment, says the focus is shifting to developed countries where abuses of migrants’ rights are emerging, from the horticulture sector to hospitality and healthcare. Investment Magazine
By Meredith Booth – 18/04/2018

Should we invest in countries that don’t share NZ’s view on human rights?

Last year at the United Nations, New Zealand urged The Philippines to “appropriately investigate deaths which have occurred in the course of police operations associated with the war on drugs”.

Tough-talking Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs resulted in what Human Rights Watch called “an unprecedented level of killing by law enforcement” since Duterte took office in June 2016.

But even as New Zealand was signalling its dismay at extrajudicial killings in the country, the New Zealand Super Fund, our sovereign wealth fund designed to help pay tomorrow’s pensions, had $2.9 million invested with The Philippines government. Stuff, Rob Stock, 28 Jan 2018

Dynamic duo: how investors, Millennials are fighting modern slavery

Who made your T-shirt, and what were they paid for it? It’s a question that Millennial consumers care about, and so investors do too.

According to a recent AMP Capital insight, young Australians’ spending power and habits could end modern slavery in the clothing industry as they shift away from cheap but dubiously sourced garments.

AMP Capital’s responsible investment leaders’ Kristen Le Mesurier explained that investors are being influenced by Millennial concerns to push companies for change in order to meet Millennials’ moral standards. By Lucy Dean, 18 Jan 2018

How ethical are New Zealand clothing brands?

New Zealand fashion brands are getting better at ensuring workers are not being exploited to make their clothes, according to the latest Ethical Fashion Report.

The report grades 330 major global and domestic fashion brands and 106 apparel companies from A to F on their policies, supplier traceability and transparency, auditing practices and worker empowerment.

The New Zealand brands scored a median grade of B-, beating the international average of C+. Stuff – JULIE ILES

NZ millions in embattled palm oil company

Millions more dollars have been invested by a Government superannuation fund in an international palm oil company embroiled in allegations of labour abuse on some of its Indonesian plantations.

The Green Party has called on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Government Superannuation Fund – two of the Government’s three largest investment funds – to cut ties with Wilmar International after receiving information showing around $7 million is currently invested. Newstalk ZB Jamie Morton, Section Politics, Publish Date Sunday, 12 March 2017