Partnerships with other shareholders help maximise the effectiveness of actions. We participate in the European Social Investment Forum (Eurosif), the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Eumedion and United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). Several of these organisations engage in an active dialogue with listed companies about corporate sustainability or focus on bringing institutional investors together for joint dialogue with companies.
Bangladesh Investor Initiative
A large group of global investors, coordinated by ICCR, issued an investor statement following a signed accord after the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh. This most recent statement called upon signatories of the Bangladesh ‘Accord for Fire and Building Safety’ and the ‘Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety to meet their obligations set forth by the Accord. The obligations address fire and building safety in Bangladesh' garment factories. This statement urges the signatories to keep the pace of implementation beyond 2018 by working with other stakeholders to support a living wage for garment workers and create an environment where workers are able to exercise their rights to freely associate and bargain collectively. From the twelve relevant textiles and apparel companies in our investment universe, five of the six European companies are signatory to the ‘Bangladesh Accord’. From the five US based companies, two are in the ‘Alliance’. We have encouraged the other selected companies to join either of the initiatives, but so far we found no evidence that they did.
The tenure of the five-year legally binding Accord is scheduled to end in June 2018. We will seek to support appropriate proposals for continuation of the work of the Accord, encouraging companies in our investment universe to remain committed to improving working conditions in their supply chain.
Engaging for supply chain change
At Triodos Bank, we have our minimum standards and beliefs when it comes to sustainable supply chain management and labour rights. This is especially important for the textile manufacturing industry; therefore we’ve designed a set of policies and measures specifically for their supply chain. When tragedies such as those in Bangladesh do occur, it is important to evaluate our approach and role, ultimately using collaborative dialogue with the companies in our Sustainable Investment Universe to encourage and in some cases, pressure them to improve conditions.