As a diversified international management and holding company, we recognize the role we have to play in supporting and respecting the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights. We believe that respecting and protecting human rights is fundamental to creating long-term sustainable value.
As a matter of principle, respect for human rights has always been embedded in our responsible management philosophy as defined by our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and our CSR Statement. Building on this strong foundation of acting responsibly, we became signatories to the United Nations Global Compact, formalizing our commitment to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
Upholding our commitment to respect human rights is the responsibility of our entire company. The Vice-President and General Counsel is responsible for providing oversight on our human rights commitments, as reflected in our CSR Statement.
Human rights are considered during our dealings with business partners and within our own investment analysis process, when relevant. We also collaborate with group companies to share knowledge on human rights management practices and to identify areas of opportunity.
In recent years, we undertook a review of the human rights initiatives at Power Corporation’s main subsidiaries and investments. Consistent with the United Nations Framework and Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the Ruggie Framework), we assessed our exposure to potential human rights risks, the policies and programs to avoid adverse human rights impacts, and the processes to enable remediation measures.
We continue to engage with the senior management of our group companies, both formally and informally, and as needed, to ensure a proper understanding of how their management teams are addressing human rights when questions or issues arise. In addition to being strongly committed to respecting and supporting human rights, many of our group companies are taking a leadership position on human rights management programs.
Monitoring and Review
Our progress on corporate social responsibility, including human rights, is reported annually to the Board through its Governance and Nominating Committee.
- Extended our human rights commitment to third parties that work for/on our behalf, through our Third Party Code of Conduct. We require our third parties to attest their compliance to our Third Party Code of Conduct.
Highlights from our Group Companies
Committing to Human Rights
All Great-West Lifeco employees acknowledged their commitment to the company’s code of conduct, which includes human rights commitments.
All IGM Financial employees acknowledged their commitment to the company’s code of conduct and respectful workplace policies. IGM Financial’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) statement includes human rights commitments.
The Sagard Funds (Sagard Europe, Sagard Holdings, Sagard China), Power Corporation’s equity investment funds, each formalized their CSR statement, which includes their commitment to respecting human rights.
Imerys supports human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and requires that they are respected in its operations worldwide. Imerys integrates child labor and forced labor issues into its due diligence assessment for new projects and the scope of internal auditing missions for the group’s existing activities. Protocols on prohibition of child labor and forced labor have been in place at Imerys since 2009, and are used as the basis for internal audits. In addition, as Imerys believes that high standards in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) areas are essential for all of its business operations, it equally expects its business partners and suppliers to adhere to the same principles. Therefore, in 2016, Imerys launched its supplier governance, social and environmental standards, which are mainly based on the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact initiative. In 2016, Imerys requested its suppliers of more than €2 million divisional spend to comply with the standards and will progressively evolve the compliance review along its supply chain.
IGM Financial integrates human rights considerations in the investment process through the Investors Group Summa SRI™ Fund, one of the largest socially responsible investments funds in Canada. The Fund aims to provide moderate income and long-term capital growth by making socially responsible investments primarily in the Canadian equity markets. The Fund seeks to invest primarily in companies that have adopted progressive standards and practices towards the environment, human rights and other social issues. The Fund does not invest in companies whose revenues are primarily derived from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography or critical weapons systems. This approach is appropriate for clients who look for investments consistent with their financial goals and personal values. The Fund uses third-party global SRI screening services to assist with the evaluation of companies against these socially responsible criteria and to assess suitability for inclusion in the Fund’s investable universe.
The Sagard Funds’ respective CSR Statement highlights each Fund’s commitment to incorporate ESG considerations, including human rights, into their investment analysis process and active ownership approach.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba was established by an Act of Parliament in 2008 and officially opened its doors in September 2014. The museum’s mandate is to explore the subject of human rights in order to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue. Power Corporation, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, as well as Investors Group collectively made a significant commitment to the launch of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.