Seminar "Human rights – why should investors care?"
The complexity and multitude of social and particularly human rights issues linked to a portfolio have long hindered investor’s ability to engage meaningfully with the “S” in Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) framework. This has led to a situation where social and in particular human rights factors have not yet received the attention and effort they might necessitate. Difficulties in measuring social performance, as well as the lack of feasible tools are often mentioned as reasons for focusing more on the E and G, rather than the S. This has posed challenges both for meaningfully reporting and communicating on human rights issues, as well as taking such risks into ESG analysis in investments.
Recently, however, this paradigm has begun to shift, as new tools and a growing number of international guidelines and documents have made it possible for investors--from institutional investor, to shareholder advocates to passive investors--to understand and act on social and human rights risks. For example OECD’s Responsible Business Conduct for Institutional Investors’ recommends that investors should screen for actual and potential links to adverse human rights impacts in their portfolios as part of their due diligence process. Despite the guidance and increasing consumer expectations, there is still a gap to fill in order for human rights due diligence to become a mainstay in the Finnish investment sector.
To contribute meaningfully into this demanding landscape, the purpose of the workshop is to bring different stakeholders together to discuss:
- What are the benefits of an effective human rights due diligence and how does it contribute positively to the “S” of ESG criteria?
- How can investors act as a driving force in requiring human rights due diligence in their portfolios?
- How can access to and use of adequate and practical tools as well as internationally comparable data support investors in managing human rights issues in their portfolios and generally in the investment sector in Finland?
- What does all of this mean for reporting and practice in firms?
08:30-09:00 Registration and coffee
09:00-09:05 Welcome from the organisers
09:05-09:30 Responsible investment and human rights: current developments and trends, by Dr Hanna Silvola, Associate Professor, Hanken and Dr Nikodemus Solitander, Director, CCR
09:30-10:10 Case study: Corporate Human Rights Benchmark as a tool for responsible investment by Daniel Neale, Programme Director, CHRB
10:10-10:35 The level of operationalization of human rights due diligence in listed companies in Finland by FIANT Consulting Oy and 3bility Consulting
10:45-12:00 Panel discussion: “Investment and human rights due diligence - the way forward”, moderated by Dr Nikodemus Solitander, Director, CCR. Panelists include:
- Oshni Arachchi, Head of Controversies & Global Norms Research, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS-ESG)
- Anna Hyrske, Head of Responsible Investments, Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company
- Prof. Jan Klabbers, Professor of International Law, University of Helsinki
- Linda Piirto, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
- Sonja Vartiala, Executive Director, Finnwatch
About the speakers and panelists:
Oshni Arachchi, Associate Director, Head of Controversies & Global Norms Research, Sustainable & Responsible Investment Research, ISS ESG
Oshni Arachchi heads the Controversies & Global Norms Research team at ISS ESG, leading a global team of expert analysts focusing on corporate adherence to global norms on human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and business malpractice. Oshni joined Ethix SRI Advisors in 2012 and for the past seven years has assisted institutional investors globally in implementing their policies and solutions for sustainable and responsible investment. Ethix SRI Advisors has been part of ISS since 2015. Oshni is also an expert in the area of international human rights and labour rights law and has previously worked for international NGOs, national human rights institutions, such as the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and the United Nations.
Anna Hyrske, Head of Responsible Investments, Ilmarinen
Anna Hyrske is the Head of Responsible Investments at Ilmarinen, a Finnish pension insurance company. Ilmarinen is a multi-asset, global investor with roughly €47 billion AuM. Ms. Hyrske has an extensive career in ESG and Responsible Investment field. She has co-written the first RI book in Finnish which has been used as educational material for students and as a guidance to institutional and retail investors alike. She has studied ESG/RI also academically writing her Master’s thesis at Hanken on the topic and is frequently giving lectures and speeches both domestically and internationally. She has just returned from a 3,5 year work assignment in Hong Kong. Anna is based in Helsinki, Finland.
Dr Jan Klabbers, Professor of International Law, University of Helsinki
Jan Klabbers holds a doctorate from the University of Amsterdam (1996, with distinction), where he also used to teach. Since 1996 he teaches international law at the University of Helsinki, concentrating on international organizations, treaties, and matters of global ethics. He is the author of several books on international law, international organizations law, and EU law; co-author of The Constitutionalization of International Law (2009), and co-editor of a forthcoming volume The Challenge of Inter-Legality. He has held invited visiting positions at various institutions of higher learning, including NYU School of Law, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Erasmus Law School Rotterdam, and Sorbonne.
Daniel Neale, Programme Director, CHRB
Daniel joined the CHRB in September 2017 as the Programme Director, responsible for day-to-day management of the CHRB on behalf of the members of the CHRB. Prior to this he was a social-performance consultant, working in the extractives and renewables spaces. He has a wealth of practical experience; implementing social performance management systems, providing guidance on social and human rights risk management, conducting research and performance assessments, and advising on approaches to responsible-security management that draws on his MSc in International Development, Security & Conflict. Daniel has worked in developing countries as well as conflict and post-conflict environments and brings extensive leadership and management experience to support the CHRB.
Linda Piirto, Senior Advisor, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Linda Piirto is in charge of drafting and implementing RBC policy for the Finnish Government. She worked as the secretary for the Finnish National Action Plan on business and human rights and nowadays coordinates the Government’s business and human rights activities. Ms. Piirto specializes in due diligence and socially responsible public procurement. She has extensive experience in training, giving public speeches, and representing Finland in international fora. Ms. Piirto holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy from the University of Helsinki.
Dr. Hanna Silvola, Associate Professor, Hanken School of Economics
Hanna Silvola is a newly appointed Associated Professor in Accounting. Her research focuses on sustainability accounting, CSR reporting and responsible investing and these topics both at undergraduate and in executive education levels. She has a wide international research experience including the LSE, Stanford University and the UNSW. Her new book on Sustainable Returns (Vastuullisuudesta ylituottoa sijoituksiin, in Finnish) was published in April 2019.
Dr Nikodemus Solitander, Director, CCR
Nikodemus Solitander acts as the director of Centre for Corporate Responsibility (CCR), a joint research institute between Hanken and University of Helsinki. He also works as postdoctoral researcher and holds a PhD degree in Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility at Hanken. His research interests include CSR in the supply chain; human rights and business, business ethics, the organization of transnational justice networks, responsible management education and pedagogy for sustainable development. He is also one of the founders of the CR3+ conference. He has published in international journals such as Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Management Decision, and Management Learning.
Sonja Vartiala, Executive Director, Finnwatch
Sonja Vartiala is the executive director of Finnwatch. She oversees the organisation's administrative and communications work, and is responsible for labour rights research and advocacy. Vartiala specialises in certification and auditing schemes, socially responsible public procurement and labour rights in Asia. Before joining Finnwatach, she worked at Amnesty International Finland, Fairtrade Finland, and Kepa. She holds a Bachelor degree in Environmental Planning and Sustainable Development from Turku University of Applied Sciences.