The PRI will be affording its work on human rights equal strategic priority to its work on climate change. Over the next few years, human rights will be a significant focus for us in our Investment Practices team, including in our private equity program.

In 2021, we will be focussing on promoting understanding of human rights in the PE investment process, and raising awareness of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (‘UNGPs’), and the OECD’s guidelines on the topic.

The work PRI is going to undertake aims to:

  • Support institutional investors with their implementation of the UNGPs through knowledge-sharing, examples and other practical materials;
  • Increase accountability among signatories, by introducing human rights questions into the PRI Reporting Framework – initially on a voluntary basis;
  • Facilitate investor collaboration to address industry challenges to implementing respect for human rights;
  • Promote policy measures that enable investors and investees to manage human rights issues;
  • Drive meaningful data that allows investors to manage risks to people.

As the first step in private equity, we are seeking case studies from GPs and LPs that illustrate leading practice in the integration of human rights due diligence, monitoring, and remediation.

What we are looking for in the case study is an example of how you, as a GP or LP, integrate human rights due diligence and monitoring into your investment process.

The case study could include any of the following:

  • How do you identify actual and potential human rights issues during due diligence? What sources of information do you use?

    For example
    • Assessing supply chain labour and social standards
    • Risk assessing suppliers

  • How do you use your leverage to mitigate those risks during your holding period, if identified during due diligence?

    For example
    • Improving and introducing policies dealing with: Responsible sourcing, ethical trade, social compliance, decent work, and ethical compliance
    • Eliminating child labour, sweatshops, or modern slavery

  • How do you track ongoing human rights risks and their management by portfolio companies? Which stakeholders do you engage?

    For example
    • Capacity building improvements such as worker helplines
    • Joining initiatives such as the Ethical Trading Initiative

  • Examples from LPs around how they assess their GPs ability to manage human rights risks.
  • Access to remedy.
  • Examples of where you look beyond the most well-recognised issues, such as modern slavery, and into broader issues such as responsible use of personal data.

Please contact peter.dunbar@unpri.org to discuss.