The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union is encouraging pension plans that include its members to become signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). It is also seeking a greater voice for representatives of plan members on pension boards.
At the union’s national convention earlier this fall delegates overwhelmingly backed a resolution supporting the UNPRI and joint trusteeship. The CEP move reflects a growing recognition among pension stakeholders that environmental, social, labour, human rights and corporate governance issues have a significant impact on corporate financial performance and that investment policies focused on short-term profits undermine pension plan funding stability.
“The UN Principles for Responsible Investment are an important tool to protect our members’ financial security and ensure they have a healthy society and a sustainable environment for their retirement,” said CEP President Dave Coles. “Worker trustees play an important role in the success of our pension funds.”
Manitoba recently became the second province to mandate that representatives of plan members be included on the governing boards of pension plans.
CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard is a strong supporter of the CEP initiative. “We have an obligation to work with local unions to move forward so that pension plan assets will be invested wisely in the future. This can be done by developing a framework for holding investment managers accountable, ensuring voting rights are exercised in our best interest and being active owners of the companies our members’ money is invested in.”
The UN Principles for Responsible Investment, established in 2006, has been endorsed by more than 800 asset owners and asset managers around the world whose assets are valued at $22 trillion.
CEP will create an action plan to help pension trustees implement the UN PRI, exercise their funds’ voting rights, become active shareowners and seek better corporate social, environmental and governance disclosure. CEP will also promote responsible investment through its Locals.