Human Rights and Investing Linking Our Integrity and Our Power to Bring about Positive Change
Defining Integrity - When what we are doing - What we are supposed to be doing - What we want to do ……all match
Core Question: How do we know if what we are doing is what we are supposed to be doing?
SRI - Socially Responsible Investing Takes what we believe Applies it to our investments Takes what we believe And allows it to expand our understanding of Human Rights
Declaration of Human Rights Contains two major groups of issues: Exotica: Those issues we hope no one ever has to deal with or encounter: torture, abuse, unlawful imprisonment, etc. Economica: Those rights which affect the daily life of the person, the family and the community
Economica: • Rights associated with daily life • Rights associated with income, the ability to support oneself and one’s family
Economica: • Rights associated with food and nutrition • Rights associated with clothing and protection from the weather
Economica: • Rights associated with education and access to social systems • Rights associated with having a home, employment, and ability to earn enough for a decent standard of living
Violation of the Economica • Suffering often equal to suffering resulting from violations of the Exotica • Revealed in infant mortality rates, increased outbreaks of disease, lowered life expectancies, etc.
Economica • Key issues are income and the resulting purchasing power • Economica allow persons, families ad communities - to have control over their lives, - to plan for the future
Without respect for the Economica • The value of the person is only in his/her productivity • Thus making the worker, a person, a mere extension of the machine
Socially Responsible Investing Examines the policies, programs and practices of individual companies and industries Through the Lens of Human Rights, especially the Economica
To Understand A Policy A Program A Practice We Need to Ask: Who Benefits? Cui Bono?
Example: Sustainability Question: Who Benefits? Who is being sustained? What is being sustained? And who decides?
If companies have a sustainability program Who and what are being sustained? And who decides? We need to ask for each company and each industry
So if companies have a human rights policy Are the economica included and protected along with the exotica? Are the workers, their families and their communities being sustained?
SRI • Is about being willing to ask questions • Is about willing to work to find answers
What keeps us going in the work • The energy of urgency: the lives of real people and families are impacted by our work • We are able to see beyond just ourselves • The joy of our work…knowing it is the right work to be doing
“The only thing required for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing” Edmund Burke
“It is not required that we complete the task, But neither are we free to abandon it PirkeiAvot