In addition to the Council on Ethics’ core task of influencing the actions of a number of companies through dialogue, the Council takes part in a number of international initiatives intended to demonstrate its position as an investor and to increase corporate responsibility.
PRI – Principles for Responsible Investments
The four AP funds in the Council of Ethics have all signed the UN Responsible Investment Initiative (UN PRI or PRI), thus supporting the idea that investors should take the social and environmental aspects of their operations into account.
PRI is also an important platform that creates good conditions for cooperation between international investors. Together with other investors, the Council on Ethics and the AP Funds, both through letters and through public support for various initiatives, shows that work on the environment and social issues is valued by owners, and that we as owners observe the companies’ progress in these issues.
EITI – Transparency in the extractive industry
An international initiative supported by the AP Funds in the Council on Ethics is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is an initiative for transparency in the extractive industries, especially oil companies. The need for transparency and governance is particularly high in countries with rich natural resources but weak governments. Clearer reporting of revenues in host countries and reports on payments made by the companies increase transparency in society and contribute to better conditions for financial control.
Together with some 70 other investors the Council on Ethics have given their formal support to the EITI, which sends a signal to countries and companies with extractive operations that shareholders value clear and transparent reporting of revenue.
IIGCC – Focus on Climate Change
All AP Funds in the Council on Ethics are members of the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) which is a forum for European investors on climate issues. The Group is committed to voicing investors’ views on climate issues and to helping companies, government agencies and fellow investors appreciate the long-term risks and opportunities associated with climate change.
The climate issue is of crucial importance to the AP Funds as a long-term investors. Currently, there is considerable uncertainty about future regulations and the framework envisaged for cutting greenhouse emissions and stimulating alternative sources of energy. This makes it difficult for companies to invest profitably and for investors to predict risk and return. IIGCC provides an efficient platform for promoting investors’ wishes concerning the climate issue. It is also a good way for the Fund to stay abreast of the latest information on various climate-related investments.
ICMM – Sustainability in the Metals and Minings industry
The trade association International Council of Metal and Minings (ICMM) works for a fair, secure and sustainable mining and metal industry. The members are large international mining and metal companies as well as regional organizations. They have developed ten sustainability principles that their members have committed to follow.
P1 Implement and maintain ethical business practices and sound systems of corporate governance.
P2 Integrate sustainable development considerations within the corporate decision-making process.
P3 Uphold fundamental human rights and respect cultures, customs and values in dealings with employees and others who are affected by our activities.
P4 Implement risk management strategies based on valid data and sound science.
P5 Seek continual improvement with regard to health and safety performance.
P6 Seek continual improvement of our environmental performance.
P7 Contribute to conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land use planning.
P8 Facilitate and encourage responsible product design, use, re-use, recycling and disposal of our products.
P9 Contribute to the social economic and institutional development of the communities in which we operate.
P10 Implement effective and transparent engagement, communication and independently verified reporting arrangements with our stakeholders.
UNGP – Human Rights
John Ruggie, former UN’s special representative for human rights in business, developed the framework ”Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework”.
The framework comprises three pillars with principles that provide guidance to companies in their work with human rights.
- The state duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business.
- The corporate responsibility to respect human rights.
- Greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.
Governments still bear the fundamental responsibility for safeguarding human rights, but John Ruggie’s principles clarify how companies should act. For example, companies need to carry out a due diligence of human rights issues, which for investors may facilitate the analysis of companies’ risk management and any violations that arise. Such an assessment can also form the basis of dialogues with companies.
Climate Action 100+
Climate Action 100+ address itself to more than 100 companies with the largest greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Companies are urged to take the necessary steps to ensure that their greenhouse gas emissions are in line with the Paris Agreement. A large number of the companies have agreed to make such a commitment. Although it is a success that so many of the companies want to be a pioneer, great work remains to be done for more companies to follow suit. Since the launch of Climate Action 100+ in December 2017, more than 450 investors with over USD 39,000 billion in managed capital have signed the call.