As a leading responsible investor, the Church Commissioners will use its vote as a shareholder to ensure international human rights norms are respected by the companies in which it invests. Starting in 2023, the Church Commissioners will vote against the re-election of relevant directors in companies that fail to meet its expectations on human rights. This includes directors with named responsibility for human rights, or board chairs, who are up for re-election in 2023 AGMs. The Church Commissioners will also work with data providers and proxy advisors with the aim of expanding the assessment of companies, improving transparency for the market overall.
Dan Neale, Social Themes Lead for Responsible Investment at Church Commissioners for England, said:
“We expect companies in which we invest to be actively committed to prevent, mitigate and account for human rights risks and impacts in all their activities. This includes managing issues like discrimination, modern slavery, indigenous people’s rights and community impacts.”
Dan Neale added:
“We will use our vote with discretion, when we think it’s appropriate to signal our disapproval to the management of a company that do not appear to meet our expectations of responsible business conduct with regards to respect for human rights. Respect for human rights underpins the ‘S’ in ESG, and, particularly today – but not only on Human Rights Day – we call on all companies to manage their social risks and impacts, to improve both outcomes for people and long-term enterprise value.”
The Church of England National Investing Bodies’ human rights policy can be found here.