Investors call on companies to support workers & markets during COVID-19

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Article
29 May 2020

Principles for Responsible Investment publishes guidance investor questions on COVID-19 for AGM season 2020

Author: Principles for Responsible Investment

AGM Season 2020: Investor questions on COVID-19, 21 May 2020

This guidance (co-developed by the [Principles for Responsible Investment] (PRI), Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, California State Teachers’ Retirement System and APG) provides investors with ESG-related questions to ask investee companies’ – at annual general meetings (AGMs) and in follow-up engagements – about their responses to COVID-19.

The guidance supports institutional investors to further their stewardship activities and to build a collective response to the crisis. The global investor community can use it to set expectations for portfolio companies and work towards a sustainable economy…

Key themes

  1. Business continuity - for employers, suppliers and communities
  2. Employee health and wellbeing - to ensure an engaged workforce
  3. Alignment with long-term value creation

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Article
26 March 2020

Investor statement on coronavirus response

Author: Domini Impact Investments, Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility & Office of the New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer

We are 251 long-term institutional investors representing over $6.4 trillion USD in assets under management with global exposure across capital markets. We recognize the long-term viability of the companies in which we invest is inextricably tied to the welfare of their stakeholders, including their employees, suppliers, customers and the communities in which they operate. As such, we call on these management teams and boards of directors to join us in facing this unprecedented threat...

[T]here are things we can do to protect our society and the companies we invest in from the worst potential outcomes, and that includes protecting workers... [I]n the face of this global humanitarian crisis we all benefit by coming together...

[W]e urge the business community to take what steps they can and to consider the following steps in particular:

1. Provide paid leave...

2. Prioritize health and safety...

3. Maintain employment...

4. Maintain supplier/customer relationships...

5. Financial prudence...

We hope companies and their boards will consider measures beyond these recommendations, particularly those that are faring well in these difficult times.... [O]ver the last several years we have seen corporations show leadership by using their power as a force for tremendous good. This leadership is critically needed as we face COVID-19 together.

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Article
26 March 2020

Investors Call on Companies to do Their Part to Support Workers and Markets During the Coronavirus Crisis

Author: Domini Impact Investments, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer

Global institutional investors comprising public pensions, asset management firms and faith-based funds issued a Statement on Coronavirus Response calling on the business community to step up as corporate citizens, and recommending measures corporations can take to protect their workforces, their communities, their businesses and our markets as a whole while we all confront the Coronavirus crisis...

As the social and economic ramifications of the pandemic are quickly becoming manifest, [...] the well-being of millions of workers hangs in the balance...

With so much uncertainty and volatility in the markets, companies can ill afford to lose the human capital they have built or the value chains they rely on to deliver their products and services...

The recommendations laid out include: providing paid leave, putting additional health and safety measures in place, maintaining employment, maintaining supplier and customer relationships, and exercising fiscal prudence... The statement goes on to suggest possible additional measures like child care assistance and hazard pay. The bottom line, however, is that we all have a role to play. 

Investors -- signatories and otherwise -- are encouraged to use the statement to engage with portfolio companies and find ways we can work together to get through the Covid-19 pandemic.

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