We avoid companies that restrict human rights, exploit workers or discriminate.
Business has a fundamental obligation to respect human rights. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (also known as the ‘Ruggie principles’) make it clear that companies must avoid contributing to breaches of human rights, including through their supply chain or other business relationships.
We don’t invest in operators of offshore detention centres. We closely scrutinise companies with supply chains in countries with a poor record on human rights or worker protection. We look at the way these companies monitor overseas workplaces, including for potential use of child labour. We have chosen not to invest in several clothing and electronics companies because of human rights concerns.
We do not automatically avoid companies operating in countries with a poor human rights record. We look at the way they do business to assess whether they are making a positive contribution to the welfare of ordinary citizens of the country or whether they are supporting or complicit in human rights abuses.
On the positive side, we seek out companies that contribute to human dignity and education and the alleviation of poverty. One of the things that attracted us to the company Interface was its use of discarded fishing nets in developing countries to make modular carpets. As well as reducing waste, this provided financial opportunities to some of the poorest people in the world.
There are exceptions to our investment exclusions. Where a company makes a mistake, we’ll consider if the company has acted to fix the mistake and stop it happening again before we exclude. See case study
A strong commitment to human rights