Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Many insurers, pension funds and banks invest in companies that demonstrably cause damage to people, animals or the planet. If that is the case, the NGOs that work together in the Fair Finance network expect those investors to have a meaningful and time-bound dialogue with these companies, and/or to exert public pressure. That is also what international guidelines, such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the Paris Climate Agreement, require of them.
In the past year, NGOs asked insurers, pension funds and banks to exert pressure as shareholders on companies in various sectors such as:
It differs quite a bit how investors react to this. Some contact NGOs. For example, they want to collaborate strategically and exert targeted pressure on companies. Some investors enter into discussions with companies, but the outcome remains weak or invisible. Some stick their head in the sand. Still others try to put pressure on companies both behind the scenes and publicly, and feedback whether or not something comes of this.
A few are even prepared to attach consequences to this: if dialogue or public pressure does not yield sufficient results within a reasonable period of time, the investment is stopped because it can no longer be justified.
NGOs can and want to help banks and investors to address companies about their negative impact on people, animals and the planet. Sharing knowledge and looking together for good moments to increase shareholder pressure on companies can make sense.
But what cannot continue are years of pointless conversations without results, or minuscule steps by companies that nonetheless earn big revenues. In the absence of good will or actual results by companies, shareholder pressure for their exclusion from investment funds should be inevitable.
Your message has succesfully been placed