Introduction to the Investment-Related Standards Toolbox
The Investment-Related Standards Toolbox contains links to a spectrum of legal and non-legal standards that seek to regulate international investment regarding issues related to human rights. To guide practitioners, the toolbox also contains case studies, civil society reports and other implementation-related resources separated by standard.
UN, MULTILATERAL AND STATE-SUPPORTED STANDARDS AND INITIATIVES - Key standards and initiatives relevant to investment and human rights
In June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (‘UNGPs’), which sets out the duties and responsibilities of State and business actors regarding human rights, and also provide practical policy recommendations. The standards set out in the UNGPs are increasingly being incorporated into other UN and multilateral investment-related standards, strengthening human rights safeguards and aligning human rights-related expectations. These standards, and also a guidance tool developed by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, are provided below.
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
UNEP FI Human Rights Guidance Tool for the Finance Sector
Recommendations of the Council on Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence
Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative
Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS - Public and private financial institutions' standards that address human rights
The performance standards and operational and safeguard policies of development and private banks now incorporate human rights-related expectations, either expressly or through ‘environmental and social’ standards that address human rights issues such as land acquisition and compulsory resettlement, health and safety, and cultural heritage. Increasingly, these standards and policies are aligning with the expectations set out in the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (‘UNGPs’). For example, the IFC Performance Standards were recently revised and now expressly refer to the standards articulated in the Guiding Principles. Provided below are policies and standards used by the World Bank, the IFC and several regional development and investment banks. Also provided below are the Equator Principles, a private banking and finance sector initiative that has recently aligned its performance expectations with the Guiding Principles.
World Bank Performance Standards
World Bank Safeguard Policies
Equator Principles III
IFC Performance Standards and Guidance Notes – 2012 Edition
Asian Development Bank Safeguard Policy Statement
African Development Bank Group’s Integrated Safeguards System: Policy Statement and Operational Safeguards
EIB Statement of Environmental and Social Principles and Standards
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Environmental and Social Policy
Inter-American Development Bank’s Environment and Safeguards Compliance Policy
EIB Environmental and Social Handbook
Inter-American Development Bank’s Implementation Guidelines for the Environment and Safeguards Compliance Policy
INVESTMENT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS - Resources on investment-related reporting requirements that address human rights
Domestic-level reporting requirements that address human rights-related issues are increasingly being developed by regulatory agencies, and applied directly to investors, as well as to companies in which investors may invest. Many of these reporting initiatives address specific concerns, such as conflict minerals or investment in emerging geographies. However, in line with shifting stakeholder expectations, regulators are increasingly exploring opportunities to encourage and require broader non-financial reporting, including reporting on material human rights-related risks. Accordingly, it is increasingly important that investors consider non-financial risks in relation to their reporting activities. Further, non-financial reporting by companies increases the human rights-related information available to investors when assessing the risks associated with particular investment decisions. Provided below is a recent update by Shift of corporate reporting requirements (including requirements relevant to investors) as well as the US Government’s Myanmar Responsible Reporting Requirements, a high profile investment reporting initiative. These resources will be supplemented in due course.
US Government Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements - Myanmar
Update to John Ruggie’s Corporate Law Project: Human Rights Reporting Initiatives
Stock exchanges are increasingly exploring opportunities to promote good human rights practice amongst listed entities, including by establishing sustainable stock exchange initiatives, and also by publishing guidance material to support listed entities to address and report on human rights-related risks. Provided below are examples of such initiatives. These materials will be supplemented in due course as further sustainable stock exchange initiatives are identified.
Singapore Exchange Guide to Sustainability Reporting for Listed Companies
Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative
RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT STANDARDS - Resources relating to industry-generated responsible investment standards
In addition to State-driven UN and multilateral standards, there are a number of responsible investment standards developed by the investment industry that address human rights. These initiatives have been developed to explore investment-related human rights as they relate to the investment industry and pension funds. They are also directed to promoting the development and implementation better policies and practices. Provided below are examples of initiatives used by responsible investors to manage their human rights risks, including through engaging with investee companies and clients.
UN Principles for Responsible Investment
CalPERS – Towards Sustainable Investment: Taking Responsibility
Learning from practice
Further resources are provided below. They have been grouped into categories that will assist you to find documents quickly.
RELEVANT CIVIL SOCIETY REPORTS - Civil society analysis and commentary on investment-related standards
Provided below are reports and other materials prepared by civil society organisations that examine investment-related standards and investors’ human rights performance in connection with those standards. These reports examine the strengths and shortcomings of investment-related standards and their implementation and suggest opportunities to make these standards and their implementation more effective.
Shift Comments on UK Financial Reporting Council’s 2013 Exposure Draft Guidance
State of Play – Human Rights in the Political Economy of States: Avenues for Application
Initial Comments by Civil Society Organisations on the World Bank’s Safeguard Policies Review and Update
Comments on drafts of the EBRD’s good governance policies
Environmental and Social Assessment
Designed for the Future? Assessing Principles of Sustainable Development and Governance in the World Bank’s Project Plans
Reforming the World Bank Policy on Involuntary Resettlement: Submission to the World Bank Safeguards Review
Disability and the World Bank Safeguards Campaign
A Roadmap for Integrating Human Rights into the World Bank Group
Abuse-Free Development: How the World Bank Should Safeguard Against Human Rights Violations
BankTrack on the Thun Group Paper on Banks and Human Rights
Risky Business: Intermediary Lending and Development Finance
Still Exporting Destruction: A Civil Society Assessment of Export Credit Agencies’ Compliance with EU Regulation
Provisions, Hooks and Entry Points For: Environmental Mainstreaming and Sustainable Development in Cohesion Policy 2014-2020
Giving With One Hand and Taking With the Other: Europe’s Role in Tax-Related Capital Flight From Developing Countries 2013
Tax Justice Advocacy: A Toolkit for Civil Society
Corner House Submission to All Party Parliamentary Group on International Corporate Responsibility: Investigation into the Workings of UK Export Finance
Investing Responsibly: A Financial Puzzle – The Limited Scope of Sustainable Asset Management
Dutch Institutional Investors and Investments related to the Occupation of the Palestinian Territories: Research Report
CASE STUDIES AND GOOD PRACTICE - Real world examples of adherence with investment-related standards to address human rights risks
Provided below are resources that examine the use of investment-related standards to address and manage human rights risks associated with investment activity. These resources will be updated periodically, and will aim to highlight good practice in investment decision-making and related oversight and monitoring activities. The case studies seek to promote consideration of human rights outcomes for investors, business, governments, local communities and other stakeholders associated with the use of investment-related standards, and to identify different approaches that have been taken to meet the performance expectations they set out.
State of Play – Human Rights in the Political Economy of States: Avenues for Application
State of Play: The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in Business Relationships
Human Rights Due Diligence: The Role of States - Examples
Netherlands’ National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights
Good Business: Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
Corporate Social Responsibility in a Global Economy: Report No. 10 (2008-2009) to the Storting