The role of institutional investors in supporting healthy and safe workplaces

The Global Unions Committee on Workers Capital (CWC) and PRI signatories  explored what role institutional investors can play in supporting healthy and safe workplaces.

The International Labour Organization estimates that 4% of global GDP is lost due to work-related accidents and diseases, and there are 2.2 million work-related deaths annually. Such figures show that costs associated with poor occupational health and safety (OHS) are staggering in human and financial terms, but what do these statistics mean for investors?

The CWC’s Investing in Decent Work Program draws attention to the relevance of labour rights for investment decision-making. During this webinar, Priya Bala-Miller – Program Manager of the CWC will present highlights from the latest Investing in Decent Work briefing paper, which focuses on OSH. Based on qualitative research and a systematic literature review, the paper discusses the diverse forms of risk investors are exposed to when they are invested in companies with poor OHS performance, the opportunities for shareholder activism to improve employee health and safety, as well as barriers that will need to overcome for such activism to be effective.

Bridging research with practice, PRI signatories whose work will be featured as best-practice case studies in the Investing in Decent Work Program, will share lessons learned from their experiences of engaging companies on OHS issues.

This webinar was part of a broader and urgent discussion on how labour and human rights issues (under the pillar of “social” issues) can be effectively addressed within a systematic approach to responsible investing.


Speakers

  Priya Bala-Miller, Programme Officer, Global Unions Committee on Workers’ Capital (CWC)

Priya Bala Miller executes strategic planning, coordination and program development for the Global Unions Committee on Workers’ Capital (CWC), whose secretariat is based at SHARE. The CWC’s primary remit is to promote the responsible investment of worker’s capital (such as pension funds) through information sharing, campaigns and advocacy. Priya has over seven years of experience working in the areas of sustainability, ethical consumerism and corporate social responsibility at the international level. She has previously worked with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, and was actively involved in high-level policy work and campaigning on behalf of the global consumer movement through her role as Senior Policy Officer at Consumers International. Priya holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Conflict Analysis and Management (Political, Ethnic and Security Issues) from Royal Roads University. Having lived in India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and the United Kingdom, Priya also has a strong personal commitment to internationalism and solidarity.

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  Carin Zelenko, Director of Capital Strategies, Teamsters

Carin Zelenko is the Director of the Capital Strategies Department for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. She is responsible for coordinating corporate accountability initiatives for the Teamsters Union and Teamster-affiliated benefit funds which together have more than $100 billion invested in the capital markets. Under her leadership, Teamster shareholder initiatives have led to significant reforms that have enhanced shareholder rights, improved corporate governance, reigned in executive excess; and secured greater financial transparency and board accountability. In coalition with other institutional investors, Teamsters continue to fight for meaningful political spending disclosures; human rights protections and sustainable, environmentally sound business practices. Carin Zelenko also serves on the Board of the Council of Institutional Investors (CII), an association of public, union and corporate pension funds with combined assets of more than $3 trillion and is a member of Teamsters Local 922 in Washington, DC.

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Robert Avellino, Employee, Loomis

Biography to follow

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  Steven Heim,Managing Director and Director of ESG Research and Shareholder Engagement, Boston Common Asset Management

Steven Heim is Managing Director and Director of ESG Research and Shareholder Engagement at Boston Common Asset Management. Boston Common is an investment manager and a leader in global sustainability initiatives, specializing in long-only International and US equity strategies. It employs an integrated investment process of analyzing financial, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors together with innovative engagement strategies. As shareowners, Boston Common urges portfolio companies to improve transparency, accountability, and attention to ESG issues. Steven is primarily responsible for ESG research on global companies and shareholder engagement. He has over 20 years of experience in the field. Steven has engaged companies and industries on various issue areas such as global climate change, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, workplace human rights, genetically engineered foods, global supply chain labor standards and environmental risk management. Steven is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Questions & Answers

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