ICCR is excited to announce the launch of a new initiative, the Investor Alliance for Human Rights (IAHR), established to provide a collective action platform to facilitate investor advocacy on a full spectrum of human rights and labor rights issues. This new Alliance, the first of its kind, builds on longstanding ICCR member advocacy to amplify the global investor voice on critical human rights challenges and to promote corporate accountability on human rights.
The UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business provide a global framework to help companies assess and address human rights risks in their operations and supply chains. While some companies have shown leadership in integrating these principles into their policies and practices, most are still unaware of the breadth and depth of human rights impacts attributed to their businesses. Responsible investors have seen gaps in corporate human rights due diligence lead to legal, reputational and financial consequences. From health and safety violations that threaten workers' lives, to regulatory rollbacks that would undermine industry compliance with mandated disclosures around human rights risks, coordinated investor action will be critical in helping to promote industry-wide adoption of human rights protocols. The Alliance is being established to create an umbrella beneath which a "coalition of the willing" from the investment community can advocate more immediately, consistently and strategically to protect human rights.
Collective action platform: The Alliance will convene, inform, and activate the investment community to make a timely business case to both corporate decision-makers and policy-makers on urgent human rights issues.
Coordination with key stakeholders: The Alliance will build and foster partnerships to coordinate with relevant stakeholders as we undertake our investor engagements, including human rights NGOs, community-based organizations, faith groups, academics, labor unions, leading companies, trade associations, international institutions and others.
Support integration of human rights criteria into investment decision-making: As the investor community continues to expand and deepen its attention to ESG integration, the Alliance will provide thought leadership, skill development, and resources to help asset owners and asset managers more effectively integrate human rights and social criteria into their investment strategies including corporate engagement, proxy voting, and buy-sell decisions.
Expand investor reach and increase influence: The Alliance will outreach to institutional investors beyond the traditional SRI community to encourage their participation in human rights advocacy.
ICCR's Legacy in Business and Human Rights
Since ICCR’s inception in 1971 when faith investors first coalesced to unite their voices against apartheid in South Africa, ICCR members have been pioneers in shareholder advocacy to promote improved corporate human rights due diligence. A few examples of earlier investor actions organized by ICCR include corporate engagements to improve working conditions in the Mexican maquiladoras, advocacy for the MacBride Principles to protect workers in Northern Ireland and, more recently, ICCR's convening of the Bangladesh Investor Initiative, a coalition of investors representing $4.5 trillion in assets after the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza, and our signature "No Fees" initiative to prohibit the paying of fees by employees in the recruitment process. ICCR and its members are recognized by both corporations and other investors as leaders on the “S” issues in ESG engagements. The Alliance will be a natural outgrowth of ICCR’s history of human rights influence and an opportunity to invite investors beyond our community to partner with us in meeting today's business and human rights challenges.
This initiative is supported by funding from Humanity United and Open Society Foundations.