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| 1 minute read

"Invest with respect": Financial institutions and human rights

Just as I publish a post on the under-addressed human rights aspects of the EU's sustainable finance regime, the PRI comes out with its own piece on how and why investors should act on human rights. And they did it with a snappier hashtag too: #investwithrespect. 

Moving past that though, I am pleased to see the PRI has picked this up and note that the article has a couple of interesting takeaways. 

First, when talking about how to respect human rights in investment activities, it becomes apparent that work needs to be undertaken on a wider framework basis (as I had noted). This covers: (i) a policy commitment; (ii) due diligence; (iii) actions to prevent and mitigate identified impacts; (iv) tracking of ongoing management; (v) communication and disclosure; and (vi) enabling access to remedy. 

Second, taking action in this space takes time and is very much an ongoing process. The PRI has set out a four year timeline from getting investors to understand and start implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to having all PRI signatories respect human rights as defined in the UNGPs. This underlines the difficulties with and effort required for getting this right. 

The article finishes by setting out its next steps and I eagerly anticipate what is to come on these. On reflection, it's handy to be on the same page as "the world's leading proponent of responsible investment". Going forward, I hope our team can help others be likewise. 

Just as for all businesses, institutional investors have a responsibility to respect human rights. This responsibility was formalised by the UN and the OECD in 2011, and since then expectations – from employees, beneficiaries, clients, governments and wider society – have only increased.


business and human rights, sustainable finance