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Standard Life raises heat on human rights

March 2004

The investment arm of Europe’s largest mutual insurer is to encourage firms in which it takes a stake to draw up human rights policy guidelines covering employees and suppliers.

New pointers in Standard Life Investments’ revised corporate governance guidelines say its investment team should expect companies that operate in or source goods from countries with a record of human rights abuses to ‘adopt human rights policy guidelines’ and back them with training. They should also be urged to report on their human rights policies and practices to shareholders.

All the companies in which it invests should respect internationally recognized labour rights, and ‘take reasonable steps’ to ensure their operations meet international human rights standards. They should uphold ‘good labour standards’ and show a ‘commitment to best practice standards of corporate citizenship and business ethics’.

Forty-six per cent of Standard Life Investment’s £86.5billion ($163bn) of total funds under management were held in equities at November 2003.




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