Shareholders demand focus on Human Rights

Proxy season, a period in which companies hold annual shareholder meetings and shareholders propose topics of concern, is upon us. According to Proxy Preview, in 2019 companies have reported a large increase in human rights proposals, with a spotlight being shone on issues such as immigration rights, child sexual exploitation, hate speech and privacy.

According to the preview, published by Sustainable Investments and Proxy Impact, 44 resolutions on human rights had been filed as of mid-February. David Schiling of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility highlighted the recent shift, with shareholders now expecting companies to “endorse and implement the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to score well on the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark and the KnowTheChain benchmark”.

Repetitional risks, as well as research into the benefits of green business are some of the reasons for the change.

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Sonja Duncan