Tackling forced labour is an investor priority

By February 16, 2017Press Release

Toronto, ON, February 16, 2017 – Canada’s regulatory framework for human rights due diligence in global supply chains lags that of other jurisdictions, and that’s a concern for Canadian institutional investors. A new report from the Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE) reviews supply chain transparency legislation around the world, including the UK’s recent Modern Slavery Act, and argues that similar federal legislation here in Canada could be beneficial to investors if properly crafted.

As human rights concerns are increasingly incorporated into mainstream investment models and decision-making, investors are looking for information from companies about their due diligence on priority issues like forced labour in their global supply chains. Current corporate reporting in Canada, however, is voluntary and inconsistent. To date, the Canadian government has not mandated such reporting or provided consistent guidelines.

In a global investment market where Canadian companies are regularly benchmarked against their international peers, the lack of domestically legislated supply chain disclosure means Canadian investors have difficulty comparing Canadian public equity investments with global competitors and/or privately-held competitors within Canada.

“A regulatory framework for supply chain transparency reporting ensures consistency and comparability between the information provided by each company in a sector,” says SHARE Engagement Analyst, Delaney Greig, who co-authored the report. “Reporting requirements should help companies to approach supply chain due diligence in a way that ensures efforts are effective and transparent while allowing companies flexibility to do what is best for their situation.”

The report, “The Rise of Supply Chain Transparency Legislation: What is at stake for Canadian investors?”, reviews a range of supply chain transparency legislation from the U.S. and across Europe, including the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010 and the UK Modern Slavery Act, to understand its form and impact and to learn from best practices already adopted in other jurisdictions.

SHARE is talking with companies, policy makers, civil society groups and institutional investors about the international growth in supply chain transparency legislation and its implications for Canada. SHARE is also addressing supply chain human rights concerns for its clients through proxy voting, shareholder engagement and filing shareholder proposals with Canadian and international companies.

“At the end of the day,” says Greig, “investors want assurance that poor human rights practices, and the associated legal, reputational and operational risks are being identified and addressed.”

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Notes for Editors

Interviews available with Delaney Greig, Engagement Analyst
Contact: Norah Murphy, 604.695.2026 or nmurphy@share.ca

About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)

SHARE is a Canadian leader in responsible investment services, research and education for institutional investors. Since its creation as a non-profit organization in 2000, SHARE has provided proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research on issues related to responsible investment. SHARE’s clients include pension funds, mutual funds, foundations, faith-based organizations and asset managers across Canada.

 

SHARE is a signatory to the U.N. Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI).

www.share.ca / @share_ca

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For more information please contact: 

Norah Murphy, Communications Coordinator, SHARE
Telephone: (604) 695-2026
nmurphy@share.ca