Companies need to do due diligence on human rights abroad


theglobeandmail.com | Published 10 May 2016

FRED PINTO and PETER CHAPMAN

The sale of Canadian military vehicles to Saudi Arabia has once again raised the age-old debate over whether Canada should do business with countries that have dubious human-rights records or in conflict-torn regions.

But it’s not just a question for governments to address. Companies also need to understand the human-rights risks they face in overseas operations and supply chains. And, increasingly, their investors do, too.

New international instruments such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as well as new reporting requirements under securities regulations are increasingly emphasizing the need for global businesses to assess their own human-rights risks, and to take steps to ensure that they are not contributing to rights violations.

In a globalized operation, failure to assess those risks in a trustworthy, transparent and effective manner is ultimately a failure of due diligence. And for a company’s investors, a failure of due diligence may lead to regulatory, legal, operational and reputational problems that could and should have been avoided.

That’s why, as shareholders in Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Oceanrock Investments’ Meritas Jantzi Social Index mutual fund was concerned when the Saskatoon-based company began sourcing phosphate rock from the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara. As responsible investors, when our fund perceives environmental, social or governance risks in a company’s operations, we work with the Shareholder Association for Research and Education to engage with those companies to address those issues. Filing a shareholder proposal asking the company to commission and publish an independent human-rights assessment of its sourcing from Western Sahara was the next step in that process.

That resolution will be put to a vote Tuesday at the company’s annual general meeting.

“read more>:“http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/companies-need-to-do-due-diligence-on-human-rights-abroad/article29943884/


Upcoming Events & Seminars

More Events »

Whipp Tips & News

Switch IPO the latest to limit investor voting rights

As many of 15 percent of U.S. IPOs in recent years have used dual share classes meant to give insiders outsized voting rights, according to the Council of Institutional Investors.

Details »

Wells Fargo executives, board must face lawsuit over fake accounts, federal judge says

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wells-fargo-accounts-decision/wells-fargo-executives-board-must-face-lawsuit-over-fake-accounts-federal-judge-says-idUSKBN1CA1ZY

Details »

As Ford pushes into electric vehicles, U.S. union aims to save jobs

Ford’s presentation to investors this week under new chief executive Jim Hackett, included a slide touting a 30 percent reduction in “hours per unit” to build electric vehicles.

Details »

More News »


:www.leedejonesgable.com

The information in this website was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however, we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate or complete. The information provided is a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice or solicitation to buy or sell securities.

Leede Jones Gable Inc. is a
Member of IIROC and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund
Stephen Whipp is a member of the Responsible Investment Association