We are an international labour union network for dialogue and action on the responsible investment of workers capital

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1 We are an international labour union network for dialogue and action on the responsible investment of workers capital

2 about us How we work Our History The CWC was established in 1999, following a meeting of international trade union leaders in Stockholm, Sweden. The CWC s formal name is the Global Unions Committee on Workers Capital, and is a joint initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Global Unions Federations (GUFs), and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC). The CWC s membership includes international representatives of organisations affiliated to the ITUC, TUAC and GUFs. These representatives meet in plenary on an annual basis to discus the latest developments on workers capital issues. Committee members also review the CWC s annual work programme, which is implemented through working groups that operate largely virtually. The CWC is currently chaired by Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. The CWC Chair reports on its activities to the ITUC General Council, the GUFs Council of Global Unions and the TUAC Plenary. These processes help to ensure that the CWC adheres to appropriate governance and transparency standards. The CWC Secretariat is hosted by SHARE in Vancouver, a not-for-profit organisation with close ties to the Canadian Labour Movement

3 our premise We believe that by leveraging their retirement savings, workers can influence how companies respect human and labour rights, remain financially sustainable, and minimize adverse impacts on the environment. positive change We are building on past successes to advance the prudent financial management of workers retirement savings in way that also takes people and the planet into account. A large portion of workers retirement savings and pension funds - otherwise known as workers capital are invested in shareholdings in global capital markets. As the ultimate beneficiaries and owners of these deferred wages, workers are the indirect owners of a substantial portion of the world s equities. The investment of workers capital is meant to provide long-term financial returns to pension fund beneficiaries. Assets held in workers retirement funds are increasingly global, and often invested in transnational corporations. These corporations may focus on short-term returns, while long-term social and environmental challenges including core labour standards are not addressed. Neglecting social and environmental factors will impact the sustainability of our economies and the well-being of working people. This may eventually undermine the ability of pension plans to deliver the future benefits they promise. A proactive approach to managing workers capital can help companies build long-term value while avoiding short-term excesses. Capital stewardship can affect positive change. It is a vital strategy in addressing unfair practices in global capital markets. For example, in 2000, The Coalition of Rio Tinto Shareholders joined together to raise concerns about the global mining giant Rio Tinto. The Coalition, which included labour investors in Australia, North America and Britain, submitted a resolution aimed at improving standards of corporate governance and compliance with international human rights standards by Rio Tinto. The Coalition argued that the adoption of the resolutions would reduce risks for investors and strengthen growth opportunities. The resolution was supported by 17 percent of votes cast, which represented more than US$1.5 billion in Rio Tinto stock. During discussions on the resolution, Rio Tinto acknowledged the important role of global labour standards in creating shareholder value. The Rio Tinto case was a watershed moment for shareholder activism by labour investors and highlighted the value of effective global coordination on the responsible investment of workers capital. Since then, the CWC has helped to coordinate investor initiatives aimed at improving corporate responsibility in major global companies such as James Hardie, Chevron, British Petroleum and Shell

4 our work Trustee Education Economically Targeted Investment Shareholder Activism Regulation and Policy The CWC works to educate union pension trustees on responsible investment issues, monitor global trends and policies related to corporate and financial market governance and examine ways in which the responsible investment of workers capital can yield economic and social value in our communities. Education builds the capacity and confidence of trustees to have a voice in the governance of the companies in which they invest and in the actions of the investment managers they hire. Globally, trade union trustees are eager to gain the skills and knowledge they need in order to link retirement security with capital strategies that benefit workers and their dependents. The CWC fosters international cooperation on trustee education through the exchange of information on research, pedagogy and curriculum. Benefits that flow from such cooperation include improvements to how trustee education programs are designed and delivered. In both developed and developing economies, opportunities exist for pension funds to generate market rates of return in ways that create targeted benefits such as jobs and income growth and improve public infrastructure. The CWC s activities on economically targeted investment (ETI) are directed at trade union pension investment experts with an interest in triple bottom line investing, which takes into account social, financial and environmental factors. The CWC, in partnership with the EURESA Institute, hosts regular meetings for senior managers and CEOs of labour-linked financial services companies. These meetings, which attract participants from Europe, North America and Africa, provide a forum for dialogue and cooperation on issues such as relations with trade unions and responsible investment strategies. Owners of workers capital can exercise their rights as shareholders in order to ensure the companies they invest in uphold the highest international standards of human rights and environmental stewardship. Positive actions can range from coordinated shareholder activism and proxy voting campaigns to international engagement with companies in which retirement funds hold stock, as well as with investment managers. CWC members cooperate on shareholder campaigns which cover a range of issues such as the repression of workers rights in Burma, forced labour in global supply chains and investment risks associated with oil sands development in Canada. The CWC also convenes an annual international meeting of union pension fund trustees. The event provides trustees with an international perspective on the challenges and opportunities associated with integrating environmental, social and governance factors in investment decision-making processes. The degree to which workers have a voice in the investment of their retirement funds and in the environmental, social and governance practices of the companies they invest in, is largely shaped by national and international regulations and norms. Intergovernmental organisations and fora such as European Union institutions, the Financial Stability Board, the International Monetary Fund and the Organsiation for Economic Cooperation and Development are exerting increasing levels of influence in such policy areas. In an evolving policy climate, CWC members are kept informed of key regulatory and policy developments. This includes pension fund governance and investment policy, the accountability of asset management, corporate governance of listed and private equity companies, corporate social responsibility and corporate disclosure and other relevant issues

5 join us Become a CWC member Membership in the CWC is open to affiliates of The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) and Global Union Federations (GUFs). CWC members can take advantage of a variety of benefits such as: access to a premier network of professionals making an impact on workers capital issues at the global level exclusive invitations to annual conferences that cover the latest developments on workers capital issues reduced registration fees for major responsible investment conferences access to member-only content on the CWC website. Contact the CWC Secretariat to register. CWC Secretariat Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) Alberni Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 3Z3 Canada T: F: T h e G l o b a l U n i o n s C o m m i t t e e o n W o r k e r s C a p i t a l ( C W C )

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