How investors can address human rights abuses and modern slavery.

  • We believe investors should act to prevent human rights abuses
  • Risks can be buried deep within company supply chains
  • Action is needed to address poverty – the root cause of much abuse

The concept of human rights has evolved and been recognized through various pieces of national legislation, including the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015. But the milestone document was the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, and that these rights are applicable “without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”1

Investors can, and in our view must, play a role in preventing human rights abuses. Ignoring modern slavery, or human rights abuses, poses material risks to companies. It may result in fines or litigation against businesses or adverse reputational impacts. Furthermore, it is now a societal expectation that investors are not complicit in human rights abuses or modern slavery. But investors face several challenges when implementing human rights considerations into investment and stewardship practices.

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