COALITION OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTORS URGE HOUSE LEADERS TO ACT ON BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING BILL
Eighty Signatories Representing $42 Billion in Assets Call for Swift Action on H.R. 2759
“H.R. 2759 is an opportunity for the House to seize the moment and put the full force and weight of the U.S. government behind efforts to stop what everyone agrees are the morally repugnant practices of human trafficking and slavery for business purposes,” said Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing at CBIS. “Investors want and need the types of disclosure H.R. 2759 requires.”
Institutional investors, research and investment firms and organizations representing $42 billion dollars of investments under management signed the letter to Reps. Boehner and Cantor. CBIS and Calvert Investments are members of both ICCR, a coalition of 300 faith-based institutional investors, and US SIF, a membership association for professionals, firms, institutions, and organizations engaged in sustainable and responsible investing.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who introduced H.R. 2759 on Aug. 1, 2011, said, “I thank the socially responsible investment community for their commitment to ending slavery and human trafficking around the globe. My bill, H.R. 2759, the Business Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act, will help raise awareness for consumers who want to know where and how their goods are being made. Human trafficking is the slavery of the 21st century. We must use every tool available to help these men, women, and children around the world who are enslaved. It is my hope that more companies will address human rights abuses in their supply chains.”
The letter urges “the Republican leadership to ensure that the Financial Services Committee places H.R. 2759 at the top of its agenda and moves it to the House floor in an expeditious manner.” The proposed legislation requires companies with annual worldwide global receipts in excess of $100 million to disclose in their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission all measures they have taken during the year to identify and address conditions of forced labor, slavery, human trafficking and child labor within their supply chains.
If passed, the law will require companies to disclose existing policies and management systems (including any auditing and verification procedures, risk assessments, trainings, remediation and accountability mechanisms) designed to address trafficking, slavery, and other forms of human rights abuses within their supply chains.
H.R. 2759 builds on The California Transparency in Supply Chain Act, which took effect on January 1st of this year. The California law, which is the first of its kind in the U.S., applies only to manufacturers and retailers doing business in the state. H.R. 2759, however, takes an even more comprehensive approach. If enacted, H.R. 2759 addresses a wide range of human rights problems and would apply to all publicly traded or private entities companies in every industry sector and have far-reaching impact outside the U.S. as well.
“Because human trafficking is so egregious and pervasive, we need greater disclosure by companies, especially in global supply chains,” said Rev. David M. Schilling, Director of Human Rights at ICCR. “Individual corporate trafficking initiatives are important, but we also need timely congressional action to establish a reporting requirement that creates a level playing field for all companies.”
“Modern day slavery, human trafficking and child labor are persistent and growing problems within global supply chains, which do not discriminate across sectors,” said Mike Lombardo, Senior Sustainability Analyst and Manager, Index, Calvert Investments. “We believe the proposed legislation is aligned with sound corporate transparency and the information will help investors more clearly understand how companies are managing these risks within their operations.”
The House Committee on Financial Services referred H.R. 2759 to the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises on Aug. 22, 2011. No further action in Committee has been taken. If the House does not vote on the bill before the end of its current term, the bill would have to be reintroduced in the next session of Congress beginning in January 2013.
For the complete text of the letter to Reps. Boehner and Cantor and a full list of signatories, please go to http://www.iccr.org/issues/subpages/AntiSlaverySupportLetter012612.pdf.
For the complete text of H.R. 2759, the Business Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act,please go to http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr2759ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr2759ih.pdf.
To download a free copy of the corporate guide to compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, “Effective Supply Chain Accountability: Investor Guidance on Implementation of The California Transparency in Supply Chains Law and Beyond,” published jointly by CBIS, ICCR and Calvert, please go to http://www.cbisonline.com/file.asp?id=1144.
About Christian Brothers Investment Services
Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (CBIS) is a leader in Catholic socially responsible investing (SRI) with approximately $4.0 billion in AUM for more than 1,000 Catholic institutions worldwide, including dioceses, religious institutes, educational institutions and health care organizations. CBIS' combination of premier institutional asset managers, diversified product offerings, and careful risk-control strategies constitutes a unique investment approach for Catholic institutions and their fiduciaries. CBIS strives to integrate faith-based values into the investment process through a disciplined approach to socially responsible investing that includes principled purchasing (stock screens), active ownership strategies (proxy voting, dialogues, and shareholder resolutions) and community investment. Visit CBIS at www.cbisonline.com.
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Currently celebrating its 40th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.www.iccr.org
About Calvert Investments, Inc.
A leader in Sustainable and Responsible Investments (SRI), Calvert offers investors among the widest choice of SRI strategies of any investment management company in the United States. Each SRI strategy employs one of three proprietary approaches. Calvert Signature® Strategies integrate two distinct research frameworks: a rigorous review of financial performance plus a thorough assessment of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. Only when a company meets Calvert standards for both frameworks will we consider investing. Calvert Solution® Strategies selectively invest in companies that produce products and services designed to solve some of today’s most pressing sustainability challenges. Calvert SAGE™ Strategies emphasize strategic engagement to advance ESG performance in companies that may not meet Calvert standards today, but have the potential to improve. More information on Calvert SRI strategies is available atwww.Calvert.com/SRI.
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