MICEU: Hoe echt verantwoord te beleggen

VIDEO - Tijdens de Morningstar Investment Conference in Amsterdam legt Chloe Horne van PRI legt aan Morningstar's Ollie Smith uit hoe de lobby-activiteiten van bedrijven nogal eens haaks staan op de duurzame doelen die ze publiekelijk prediken.

Ollie Smith 04 oktober, 2022 | 15:43
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Ollie Smith: Now, I must have heard the words Principles for Responsible Investment a million times in my life, but I've never actually met anyone from the PRI. So, I'm delighted to say that PRI's Chloe Horne has joined us at Morningstar Investment Conference EU 2022.

Chloe, thanks for being with us. Could I just ask you, first and foremost, you mentioned in your session today that certain corporates had decided to engage with Principles for Responsible Investment but had conducted lobbying activities that were perhaps contrary to some of the PRI initiatives behind the scenes. Do you see a lot of that kind of activity and how do you deal with it?

Chloe Horne: Yeah. So, I think this has come up in our new initiative called Advance, a collaborative stewardship initiative on human rights and social issues. And our focus of that engagement is around the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles and the most severe human rights risks at each company. And I think one of the things we identified very early on was that it's kind of a waste of time to just address those when companies are also, behind closed doors, potentially engaging with policymakers on some issues that might undermine their broader responsibilities to respect human rights.

So, for example, it might be quite difficult to engage with a company on paying the living wage if they're, for example, lobbying the government on bringing down the minimum wage. And that's just a theoretical example. But I think it's really important to address all those issues, and I think it's really highlight it to investors the importance of looking at the interconnectedness of different issues rather than looking at, for example, human rights and governance and take responsible political engagement in isolation and in silos.

Smith: Sure. And one of the things we haven't really spoken about much at the event over the past two days is the impact of COVID-19. So, I wanted to ask you, what has been the impact of COVID-19 on PRI's work? Has it accelerated certain initiatives?

Horne: Yeah. So, when everything started happening, we kicked off two work streams, the first on kind of the short-term response to COVID-19, including how it's going to change how AGMs, or annual general meetings, are run. They're now often virtual and there's kind of a hybrid solution sometimes and that kind of changes some of the access shareholders have to companies. And so, that was something we looked at. And we also looked at kind of the long-term response to COVID-19, including how investors can engage with companies on, say, their labour rights and decent work. I think it was – COVID-19 highlighted the importance of things like sick leave, because if employees don't get sick leave, they come into the office or they come into the workforce, and they spread COVID-19 even more. So, I think, decent work really was raised up the agenda because of that.

And I think in recent years, we've also seen investors looking at pharma companies into their provision of the COVID-19 vaccine. And so, we've seen shareholder proposals on things like the accessibility of COVID-19 and vaccines and how that's spread across markets, and it's also really highlighted the importance of addressing public health risks. And so, more and more we're seeing collaborative engagements and proposals looking at antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, and how these public health risks are systemic risks that are going to impact investors' entire portfolios and there's no divesting away from it, there's no screening away out of it. It's a public health risk that all investors need to address.

Smith: Fantastic. For more on PRI, check out any of Morningstar's websites. Until next time, I've been Ollie Smith for Morningstar.

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Over de auteur

Ollie Smith  is editor van Morningstar UK

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