Human Rights - it's not just a values issue
Credit: Mike Baumeister on unsplash 

Human Rights - it's not just a values issue

Human rights are not just a values issue. The legal framework is changing - impacting companies, their advisors, and their investors. Even more than before, we need to stay ahead of the curve on this.

Summary: We look at human rights as an investing issue, one that can have a very direct impact on a company's long term value creation. Companies that do not prepare will lose competitive positioning; it's not just about paying fines anymore.

Why this is important: Responsibility for supply chains, legal action in your home country for acts elsewhere and the impacts of international agreements.

The big theme: Human rights are a big theme in their own right. What is sometimes less appreciated is that they are intrinsically linked to a series of wider social and environmental topics. Companies and investors need to stay ahead of the curve on this. These are not just good corporate citizen topics anymore; they are becoming a critical driver for a company's long term financial success or failure.

The details

We don't send children up chimneys anymore

Our view on what constitutes acceptable work practices changes, as societies become safer and more prosperous. Maybe slowly, but they change. Up until the 1840's, children under 10 years old used to be allowed to work in UK underground mines. Now, the debate is less about working practices in a company's home country, and more about how it treats its employees elsewhere.

The Chimney Sweeps Act (1834) required that no child was to be actually engaged in cleaning chimneys under the age of 14. This was largely ignored due to the absence of any means of enforcement, and children under ten were still being made to climb chimneys. In 1863 the publication of 'The Water-Babies', a novel by Charles Kingsley, raised public awareness. Finally, in 1875, a successful solution was brought in which licensed sweeps, and handed enforcement to the police.

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