The Real Price of Food
Today, October 16, is World Food Day, a campaign created in 1981 to raise awareness of hunger and poverty. With an estimated nine percent of the global population reported as undernourished in 2019, hunger and poverty remain a reality for millions of people with the situation being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.,
Untangling the Complex Threads of Modern Slavery
October 7 is World Cotton Day–an annual event created in 2019 after four cotton-producing countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) applied to the UN for special recognition of the crop. Cotton has much to celebrate–it is the primary source of livelihoods and revenue for up to a billion people. That said, the positive benefits do not extend to everyone in the value chain, as significant human rights challenges have persisted in many countries. Change, however, may be upon us. Cotton could be set to face major dislocations driven by responses to human rights violations, with significant implications for investors.
CII Conference Reflections: Emerging Social Issues to Watch for in 2020
Following the Council of Institutional Investors Conference, we highlight two emerging social issues that were top of mind for active investors, Cyberthreats and Human Capital & the Future of Work, and discuss how partnering on engagement can drive long-term value.
Pre-engagement study on labour rights in food supply chains
Labour rights issues in food supply chains are crucial matters to investors, both in terms of compliance with international human rights norms and national legislation, and from the material point of view of securing future supplies. With this background, GES, in collaboration with AP7, The Seventh Swedish National Pension Fund, conducted a pre-study to provide input for the development of a new engagement initiative.
Combatting Child Labour: Investor expectations and corporate good practice
GES has engaged the cocoa industry for many years to increase its effort in tackling the issue of child labour. As a part of its long-term engagement, GES published its second public report on the issue, including investor expectations and a corporate benchmark of leading cocoa and chocolate companies.
Perspectives on Modern Slavery (Australia)
An estimated 40 million people are currently oppressed by modern slavery and companies are under increasing pressure to manage this issue to mitigate operational disruptions as well as compliance and reputational risks. Sustainalytics, FSI and Suncorp tackle this issue on Sustainalytics’ Perspectives on Modern Slavery – Australia webinar.
Access to Nutrition Index 2016
Since the launch of the first Index, recognition of the human and economic consequences of poor nutrition has increased. Globally one in three people are now either undernourished, overweight or obese. Over the last 35 years obesity has more than doubled and has now reached epidemic proportions. Over the next 10 years, malnutrition is set to continue to increase.
Investor Guidance on Integrating Children’s Rights into Investment Decision Making
Sustainalytics in collaboration with UNICEF, The United Nations Children’s Fund, has published a new report titled, Investor Guidance on Integrating Children’s Rights into Investment Decision-Making. The guidance offers investors a practical toolkit on how to incorporate children’s rights into investment analysis and engagement activities.
Investor’s Guidance on Children’s Rights Integration
To establish how, and to what extent, investors are considering children’s rights in their policies and practices, GES also worked with the Global Child Forum, a Swedish not-for-profit foundation, to survey asset owner PRI signatories in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Child Labor in Cocoa
Over two million children below the age of 18 work in hazardous conditions in the cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Ghana. This engagement is founded on investors’ expectations for some of the largest companies in the cocoa sector, and addresses the issue of child labor in cocoa.
It is anticipated that modern slavery will increasingly put companies at a competitive disadvantage through, for example, operational disruptions, compliance risks and loss of business due to damage to reputation. The engagement’s objective is to ensure high-risk portfolio companies adopt rigorous strategies on modern slavery.
Food Supply Chain
This engagement focuses on addressing risks related to child- and forced labor in the targeted companies’ supply chains, as well as to remediate potential adverse labor rights impacts. Particular focus is placed on the identified high-risk commodities, namely coffee, rice, sugar, tea and tomatoes.
Feeding the Future
Agriculture is estimated to account for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 80 percent of deforestation, 70 percent of water use and 78 percent of ocean and freshwater pollution. This engagement theme aims to contribute to a more sustainable trajectory for the future of food.
Children’s Rights – the smallest things can have the biggest impact
Imagine there was a stakeholder group that formed a third of the global population and was pertinent to business in various ways: as customers, as employees’ family members, and as key participants in local communities and in society at large. These people would be guaranteed to run the world in the future. Almost everyone would know and be related to representatives of this network, and many would consider them the most important people in their lives. You would expect companies and investors to assess the impact they have on these powerful influencers and try to capitalise on the related opportunities, but that is rarely the case. This is because the group I’m talking about is children. When it comes to incorporating children’s rights and needs into business and investment strategies, there is still a long way to go given their number and potential.
Slavery in the Seafood Industry
On January 30, 2019[i], Thailand became the first Asian country to ratify the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Working in Fishing Convention (C188). This comes after years of criticism over illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and findings of slavery and human trafficking within its fishing industry.
The True Cost of Tomatoes: Insights from our Supply Chain Engagement Trip
In late 2019, Sustainalytics traveled to Italy as part of our Stewardship and Risk Food Supply Chain Engagement. We embarked on this trip with a group of investors and Nestlé to gain an understanding of the working conditions in the tomato sector. The goal of this engagement program is to address risks of child labor in the targeted companies’ supply chains as well as remediate potential adverse labor rights impacts.
How Prepared are Australian Companies for the Modern Slavery Act?
Australia is being scrutinized for lagging on climate action and for a string of scandals in its financial sector, but the country will soon be a leader in fighting human rights abuses and modern slavery practices, as it is set to become one of few countries in the world to adopt a historic Modern Slavery Act (MSA).