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
IGM Financial integrates human rights considerations in the investment process through the Investors Group Summa SRI™ Fund. 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 follows a socially responsible approach to investing. To achieve the Fund’s investment objective, the Fund seeks to invest primarily in the common shares of Canadian 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. 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 (Sagard Europe, Sagard Capital in the United States, Sagard China), Power Corporation’s equity investment funds, each formalized their CSR statement, which includes their commitment to respecting human rights. In addition, the CSR Statement highlights the Funds’ 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.
Imerys supports human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and requires that they are respected in its operations worldwide. The group verifies that these principles are observed through audit assignments carried out by internal auditors. Imerys complies with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and monitors the risk associated with the group’s swift growth in emerging countries.
The group has placed special importance on awareness and prevention of child labor since 2009. Operations managers on all Imerys operations in zones where vigilance is particularly recommended by indices such as FTSE4Good are trained in the relevant regulations. In 2015, Imerys implemented a new procedure according to which if more than 2.5% of a division’s spend comes from a supplier whose manufacturing facilities are located in one of the “countries of concern”, that given supplier will need to confirm compliance with the international Labour Organization Conventions on Child Labor and Forced Labor.