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25 Feb 2015

Daniel Brooksbank, Responsible Investor

Human rights principles clearly apply to minority investors - Ruggie

Professor John Ruggie has explained to Responsible Investor how the United Nations Guiding Principles on human rights that bear his name clearly apply to institutional investors and the financial community more generally...The principles had been thought to apply mostly to corporates but institutional investors have been drawn in via a de facto test case brought by a group of NGOs against Dutch pension fund manager APG and Norges Bank Investment Management, the manager of the Norwegian state fund. (See RI coverage.) The complaint related to their minority investment in controversial Korean steelmaker POSCO. “I think that question is still under discussion in the financial community itself so there is no other answer except that it is established, at the level of principle, that this is applicable. But not in the same way as a mining company that’s blowing the tops off mountains and displacing communities,” [said Ruggie]..."SRI groups and pension funds don’t have to make up their own interpretations any more of what this means. You now have a common framework and guidance notes to do that. It makes life simpler for everybody," [he added].