UN Forum

A 'Smart Mix' for Responsible Investment: The Role of Government in Ensuring Investor Respect for Human Rights

Event Details

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Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

The Investor Alliance for Human Rights will host a session entitled A 'Smart Mix' for Responsible Investment: The Role of Government in Ensuring Investor Respect for Human Rights at the 2019 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights on November 25 from 4:40 pm to 6:00 pm (Geneva time).

Financial systems have the potential to promote respect for human rights and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, doing so requires that institutional investors—from public pensions and trade union funds to asset managers, foundations, and family funds—consider human rights throughout their institutional governance and throughout the investment lifecycle. This requires that investors conduct human rights due diligence as part of their own activities, and it is imperative that governments adopt a “smart mix” of measures that strengthen regulation, improve policy coherence, and showcase how public financial institutions can lead by example in this area.

While the European Parliament has recently taken a monumental step in this regard, and while human rights due diligence has been outlined by the UN Guiding Principles, integrated as a key feature of the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises, and unpacked for institutional investors in the OECD guidance document Responsible Business Conduct for Institutional Investors, significant gaps remain in clarifying what the implementation of the responsibility to respect human rights looks like for investors and how investors can be held accountable by States and others for adverse impacts.

This session’s objective will be to explore how governments can most effectively contribute to filling these gaps. It will aim to achieve this objective through collaborative dialogue, open debate, and multi-stakeholder strategy-setting around what additional information, tools, resources, partnerships, and test cases may be needed in furthering investor respect for human rights across diverse markets and business relationships.

Click here to view our concept note for this session.

Speakers will include representatives from governments, public pension funds, asset management firms, and civil society groups. 

Given the multi-stakeholder nature of the group of organizers and lead discussants, we anticipate a diverse group of participants and therefore aim for a highly interactive session. We hope to achieve this by breaking the session down into two main discussions, each beginning with kick-off reflections from two lead discussants and then turning to the room for facilitated brainstorming and strategy-setting around specific discussion questions.

Register for the 2019 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights here.