Human rights play an increasingly important role in the global business community. Indeed, the political upheavals in the Middle East and Africa, the Gulf Coast oil disaster, debt imbalances in both Europe and the United States, and the subprime mortgage crisis illustrate how issues of sustainability – including human rights, economic, environmental, social, and governance factors – can materially affect investment returns. The perception that considerations of public policy inevitably create a trade-off with financial performance is incorrect; public interest considerations are crucial elements of investment risk management, especially in the age of globalization.
What's more, fiduciaries responsible for long-term investments have a legal duty of intergenerational impartiality. This requires them to consider anything that impacts long-term outcomes. Sustainable investing, by definition, is consistent with long-term investing.
In the summer of 2010, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights raised these issues with major fiduciaries – including public and corporate pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, foundations at family offices – at its conference “Exploring New Directions in Fiduciary Duty.” In response to the active encouragement of those fiduciaries, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights launched the Compass program. Now in its 7th year, RFKennedy Compass continues to work with institutional investors to advance a discussion of the impact of human rights and other ESG considerations on investment performance and the challenges of investing today.
Our Programs Addressing Sustainable Investing/Business & Human Rights
Engaging the investment community at the intersection of business and human rights.