Its the product of a couple of years' work by a global group of trade union experts from countries including Australia, the US, Spain, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK. It also has the imprint of the ITUC, the peak body in the global labour movement. So if you're an investor or an ESG researcher looking at a company wanting to get a handle on how well it handles labour issues, these are the indicators that you should be looking at.
Press blurb below, the guidelines themselves are here.
Global Trade Unions Release Guidelines For The Evaluation of Workers’ Human Rights and Labour Standards
Global union initiative will elevate the profile of social issues in the investment chain
VANCOUVER, CANADA, 1 MAY 2017 - Investors will be able to properly evaluate company adherence to robust labour standards and responsible employer relations as a result of a new global trade union initiative.
The Committee on Workers’ Capital (CWC) Guidelines for the Evaluation of Workers’ Human Rights and Labour Standards are a comprehensive set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for investors to evaluate companies’ social performance. The guidelines were produced by trade unions from around the globe in response to concerns that asset owners and other investment chain actors are not equipped with tools to adequately scrutinize social issues such as labour relations in their environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis.
The CWC Guidelines were endorsed at a meeting of the Council of Global Unions in February 2017, giving them unique status amongst ESG KPIs as an official document of the global labour movement.
“When companies like XPO Logistics or Sports Direct mistreat their workforce, they create risks for investors,” says Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. “Yet to date the ‘S’ in ESG has been the weak link in investment analysis, and investors have lacked a shared framework to assess companies’ approaches.”
The Guidelines are inspired by key international norms, standards and frameworks including the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the ILO Fundamental Conventions. The indicators are grouped in ten themes, which include workforce composition, social dialogue, supply chain, grievance mechanisms, workplace diversity, and pension fund contributions for employees.
“The CWC Guidelines will help pension trustees, asset managers and rating agencies properly evaluate the social performance of investee companies,” says Burrow. “In addition to improving investors’ ESG analysis, use of the Guidelines will send positive market signals for companies that respect fundamental labour rights. Ultimately, the capital of working people in their pension funds should support the fundamental labour rights that were necessary to create pension funds in the first place.”
The CWC Guidelines were developed over the past 16 months by a multinational working group of trade union specialists from countries including the US, Australia, Spain, Canada and the UK. The CWC will use the Guidelines to elevate the profile of decent work practices in its work with pension fund trustees and other investment chain actors such as sustainability rating agencies.
For a one page briefing on the CWC Guidelines, please click here.