About the Investor Alliance for Human Rights
Given the range of current threats to human rights globally, and the need to ensure greater accountability for corporate human rights abuses, coordinated investor action is needed to press companies to uphold their responsibility to respect human rights, and make sure governments and other actors create environments that protect human rights and enable responsible business conduct.
To help meet this challenge, the Investor Alliance for Human Rights (IAHR) provides investors with a platform to engage companies on salient human rights issues, as well as states and standard-setting bodies to ensure these create policies and standards to prevent and remedy corporate human rights abuses.
In this process, the IAHR increases investor leverage and capacity to identify, assess and address salient human rights issues through targeted action, capacity building and multi-stakeholder engagement.
The IAHR convenes, informs, and activates investors to act on human rights and business risks through campaigns and urgent actions. The issues and sectors where our collective action is focused are identified through ongoing mapping of human rights and business issues, investors raising issues for consideration, and close collaboration with civil society, trade unions, community-led organizations and others to identify emerging issues and gaps.
The criteria used to inform decision-making on collective action is based on the degree of risk to people, including the severity, scope and scale of the corporate human rights abuse, and subsequently to business. Where risks to human rights are greatest, there is a risk to business, including operational, reputational and legal risks.
Like companies, investors have a responsibility to respect human rights in their own business. Investors should identify, prevent or mitigate adverse impacts and account for these when they occur.
The unique characteristic of institutional investors is that they may hold investments in a wide range of companies, across many sectors and in different regions, and as a result, may be directly linked to a wide range of adverse human rights impacts caused by these business relationships. While investors are not responsible for addressing those adverse impacts themselves, they are expected to consider risks throughout their investment process and use their “leverage” to influence investee companies to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts. Likewise, when adverse impacts arising from investee companies occur, investors that are directly linked would not be expected to provide remedy, but they should use their leverage to encourage the investee company to do so.
To help investors live up to this responsibility, the IAHR provides investors with relevant standards, guidance and tools to help them not only maximize their leverage through informed collective action, but also their capacity to address human rights risks by integrating human rights criteria into investment decision-making and corporate engagements.
A fundamental and cross-cutting aspect of the IAHR is to build and foster partnership with relevant stakeholders to help operationalize human rights and business standards. Stakeholders include civil society, community-based organizations, faith groups, trade unions, academics, national human rights institutions, international institutions and others. This promotes a cohesive approach to addressing human rights issues, and helps maximize our collective impact while surfacing gaps where more concerted action is needed.
The Advisory Committee of the IAHR plays a key role in facilitating collaboration and coordination with other stakeholders.