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Investors urge companies to take “decisive” human rights action

EqualityA group of investors have joined forces to call out the weak human rights performance of leading international companies and demand they take imminent action to improve their track record.

The coalition is made up of 176 international investors - including Aviva Investors, Nordea Asset Management and the New York State Common Retirement Fund - and is demanding “decisive” action from companies to improve their human rights performance by June this year.

In the latest Corporate Human Rights Benchmark – which ranks companies based on their human rights due diligence – 95 of the worst performing companies included household names such as Canon, Carlsberg, Starbucks, Gazprom, and Costco Wholesale.

Coordinated by the Investor Alliance for Human Rights which represents $4.5 trillion of assets, the firms sent out a letter targeting companies scoring zero on human rights due diligence in the 2019 ranking.

Magdalena Kettis, active ownership director of Nordea Asset Management, said: “It is alarming to see so many companies falling short. Like all business actors, investors have a responsibility to respect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as emerging regulatory developments in different countries.”

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