In 2017, we engaged with several companies on the use of minerals that qualify as conflict minerals due to their source of origin. If companies use such minerals, the fund requires that these minerals are sourced responsibly, and that any revenue from the minerals does not fuel armed conflict.
We have seen an increasing number of companies introducing our required responsible sourcing practices and have decided to add the healthcare industry as a ‘high-risk’ industry
Child labour in the cobalt supply chain
Since the publication of the Amnesty International report on child labour in the cobalt supply chain, we joined a group of 23 international institutional investors, led by Dutch pension investor APG to engage with relevant industries about the risk of child labour in the cobalt supply chain.
The group started to engage with 13 companies that were identified by Amnesty International as being at risk of using cobalt from DRC, including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, and Volkswagen. Of these companies, Sony is part of the Triodos portfolio. The aim of the collaborative engagement is to raise the awareness of companies, with the goal of abolishing child labour from the cobalt supply chain.
The investor group learned that several of the target companies joined leading industry initiatives, such as the Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI), or the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). However, according to a new Amnesty International report published in November 2017, many companies have been slow to take real action in countering child labour in the cobalt industry.
In November, we participated in a panel discussion on the subject at the UN Business and Human Rights Forum. By taking part in this collaborative action, we aim to be an active voice in the joint effort of investors, business (organisations) and civil society, to mitigate human rights risks in the supply chain of minerals. To this end the group developed an investor briefing to inform investors about the risks related to this mineral.
In 2018, a second round of questions and expectations will be sent to target companies.