Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto, added human rights as one of its four focus areas for working with companies in which it invests.
The board, which manages the assets of the C$287.3 billion ($221.1 billion) Canada Pension Plan, Ottawa, will now include human rights as a subject for engagement with companies, along with existing focus areas of climate change, water and executive compensation. Extractive industries related to oil and gas industry risk, which had been one of the four focus areas, will now be incorporated into human rights and the other three focus areas, said Dan Madge, CPPIB spokesman.
“We believe that strong human rights practices contribute to long-term value, and engaging with companies in our portfolio on this topic is therefore an important part of our strategy to maximize long-term returns,” according to a statement on CPPIB's website.
The focus areas are included in CPPIB's overall measure of companies' environmental, social and governance risks. The board engages with companies on human rights issues as an endorser of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment and through proxy voting. CPPIB also said it has collaborated with other investors to encourage electronics, automotive and battery manufacturing companies to avoid using cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of child labor and human rights concerns.