COALITION OF INVESTORS AND ADVOCACY GROUPS PRESS COMPANIES TO STRENGTHEN POLICIES AND PRACTICES TO HELP ELIMINATE HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Report on London Olympics Stresses Six Recommendations Be Adopted by Future Sponsors and Hospitality Companies

NEW YORK CITY – September 28, 2012: Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), a leader in socially responsible investing, together with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), today released a report, “Corporate Approaches to Address Human Trafficking: Investor Recommendations to London Olympic Sponsors and Hospitality Companies.” The report highlights policies and practices of companies that may be at a higher risk of encountering child and labor trafficking and provides guidance to eradicate these egregious human rights violations.

“In addition to the moral argument, as shareholders, we find there are great risks to companies from human trafficking given the complexity of company supply chains,” said Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing at CBIS. “By adopting the six practices highlighted in our report, corporations can have greater confidence that their systems and processes address these risks.”
The report is a result of an ongoing initiative, themed Celebration Without Exploitation,  by CBIS and a U.S./U.K. coalition* of 39 U.S. and U.K.-based advocacy organizations and investors with $58 billion in assets under management to raise awareness of the business risks associated with human trafficking.  Large international events, such as the recent London Olympics, can be magnets for the global sex and labor trafficking industry.  According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), more than 20 million people worldwide are trapped in situations of forced, bonded or child labor and sexual servitude.

The coalition sent letters to 20 Olympic sponsors and 13 hospitality companies, calling for immediate action to train staff and to better monitor their supply chains, and requesting information to enable the coalition to assess strengths and weaknesses in corporate policies and practices. The companies contacted were:

Olympic Sponsors—Acer, Adidas, ArcelorMittal, BMW, Cadbury/Kraft Foods, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Freshfields, General Electric, John Lewis, McDonald’s, Next, Omega/Swatch, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Rio Tinto, Sainsbury’s, Samsung and UPS.

Hospitality Companies—Accor, Best Western, British Airways, Carlson, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Starwood, Thomas Cook, Whitbread and Wyndham.

Among the findings:

  • With the exception of Dow, all companies contacted responded to the coalition’s letter;
  • 11 of the 13 hospitality companies indicated they would be training staff in advance of the London Olympics;
  • 84 percent of Olympic sponsors reported having human rights training programs for staff and 63 percent mentioned programs for suppliers;
  • While 63 percent of Olympic sponsors companies mentioned either in their response to the coalition or in their sustainability reports the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the global standard for governments and business to address human rights abuses, no hospitality company contacted references them; and
  • Few human rights policies of Olympic sponsors and hospitality companies sufficiently address the full cycle of human trafficking, starting from the recruitment stage.

Based on these results, the coalition outlined six best practices that can be utilized by corporations across all industries:

1. Include and define human trafficking in human rights policies;

2. Expand human rights policies and programs to include fair and responsible hiring practices;

3. Utilize human rights impact assessments to more thoroughly identify and address trafficking risks;

4. Disclose additional information on anti-trafficking training programs for staff and suppliers;

5. Provide greater detail on the audit process, including performance and integration of findings; and

6. Improve public reporting on steps taken to combat human trafficking to demonstrate accountability to stakeholders.

The report highlights company examples for each of the six practices and provides extensive resources for more information.

“The coalition’s recommendations are very much in line with the Executive Order signed by President Obama, September 26th on Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts,” added Rev. David Schilling, Program Director at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). “The Executive Order addresses fraudulent recruitment practices, prohibits recruitment fees, requires auditing of contractors,  training of employees and developing a compliance plan.  This is a major step towards eradicating trafficking and slavery.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was also contacted twice by coalition members and urged to create human trafficking guidelines for future Olympic sponsors, business partners, and host cities covering the complete project life cycle of the Olympics.

Members of the coalition are committed to engage Olympic sponsors, hospitality companies and other international corporations to monitor their policy development, implementation and public reporting. The Celebration Without Exploitation campaign will resume in 2013 with the Super Bowl, Commonwealth Games in 2014, and future Olympics in Sochi (2014) and Rio (2016).

“It is our sincere hope that companies will continue their efforts to combat human trafficking and that the IOC will select Olympic sponsors that embrace the Olympic ideal of continually striving for improvement,” said Lee Coates OBE, ECCR Chair and founder-director of Ethical Investors Group, a U.K.-based independent financial advice firm. “Working together we can protect people around the world, not just during the Olympics, but permanently.”

In addition to Christian Brothers Investment Services, ICCR and ECCR, contributors to the report included Boston Common Asset Management, Calvert Investments, Catholic Health East, and The Marianist Province of the United States.

About Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS)
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. www.cbisonline.com

About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Currently celebrating its 41st 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 The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR)
ECCR is a UK/Ireland church-based investor coalition and membership organization working for economic justice, human rights and environmental sustainability through research, advocacy and dialogue to encourage companies to meet the highest standards of corporate responsibility and transparency and by assisting faith communities and their members in upholding these standards through responsible and positive-impact investment. www.eccr.org.uk

*Members of the Coalition
* Members of the coalition that sent letters to Olympic sponsors and hospitality companies are as follows:  Boston Common Asset Management, Calvert Investments, Inc., Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, Catholic Diocese of Westminster, Catholic Health East, Charitable Trusts of the Congregation of Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, Christian Brothers Investment Services, CHRISTUS Health, Congregation of Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Congregation of St. Joseph, Dominican Sisters of Hope, ECPAT-USA, EIRIS, The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Everence Financial, FairPensions, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Marianist Province of the United States, Mercy Investment Services, Inc., Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, Pax World Management LLC, Presbyterian Church (USA), Quaker Peace & Social Witness, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, Rathbone Greenbank Investments, René Cassin, The Representative Body of the Church in Wales, Responsible Sourcing Network, Sisters of Charity, BVM, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, NJ, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, Texas, The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (TheCode.org), Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, and Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk. The following organizations joined the letter to hospitality companies: CCLA Investment Management, Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group, and Dominican Sisters of Houston.

Download the report here.