Core Elements of the Technology Sector’s Human Rights Responsibilities

By Lauren Compere, Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management

This week’s launch of the 2020 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate (RDR) Accountability Index underscores the urgent need for technology companies to apply the same rigor and innovation in addressing digital human rights that we already see for advancing communication services and digital platforms. The 2020 RDR Index evaluates 26 of the world’s largest digital platforms and telecommunications companies on their disclosed policies and practices affecting users’ rights to freedom of expression and information and privacy. This year’s index has an expanded focus…

By Lauren Compere, Managing Director

Boston Common Asset Management

It is unprecedented that in less than a year we have progressed from clinical trials to viable COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics from the likes of Pfizer, Moderna, Gilead, and others. This would not have been possible without accelerated innovation, industry and multi-lateral partnerships, government funding, and collaboration with the WHO, the Gates Foundation, Gavi[1], and others. Now, we must examine what is possible and assess the unintended consequences this fast track has had on health inequities and a potential further divide between those that get access to vaccines and therapeutics vs…

Fourth Annual Impact Report

Boston Common’s Annual Impact Report, comes at a challenging time for investors, companies, and society at large. The COVID-19 crisis and social unrest following the murders of George Floyd and other unarmed Black people in the US have underlined the necessity for companies to serve all stakeholders. COVID-19 has changed the lens through which we evaluate and act, but it has not altered our engagement priorities — advancing our clients’ social and financial objectives by empowering portfolio companies to create future-prepared and future-oriented products, processes, and policies.

Reflecting on our long-term engagement work, in 2019 we:

  • Engaged 219 companies and…

This proxy season, investors must step up to improve climate lobbying practices

It is almost five years since the Paris Agreement was signed, and in that time, we have seen an encouraging number of business leaders make ambitious and bold commitments on reaching low-carbon and net zero targets. But we all know actions speak louder than words and one of the biggest obstacles on the path to achieving Paris is continued corporate support for insidious lobbying that undermines the acceleration of the low-carbon transition. …

Lauren Compere, Managing Director

Reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, our focus has been both local and global: the health and safety of our community, the health of our planet, and our impact and role as active, engaged investors. As we look to assess and address the impacts of COVID-19, we must continue our vital work in addressing ongoing systemic risks, particularly the climate crisis. In this sense, our engagement priorities have not changed, but the lens through which we evaluate and act will.

Investors will have to urgently step up their ESG work on multiple fronts in 2020 and beyond

By Lauren Compere, Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management

Originally published in Ethical Corporation, January 22, 2020

It’s impossible to understate the importance of 2020 in the fight against climate change. If we are to have any chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C, 2020 is the year global emissions must peak, with a decade of significant climate action to follow.

The year has begun with a stark warning of the consequences of inaction, with the Australian wildfires razing over 10 million hectares…

In Brief:

  • Better inclusion and diversity policies and practices can be a source of competitive advantage and a key enabler of growth for firms.
  • Corporate boards have made progress for women that was unimaginable a decade ago; women held 27% of S&P 500 board seats in 2019 vs. 15% in 2011.
  • We identify three mutually-reinforcing areas of sustained effort that made progress possible: Investor Voice, Data, and an Ecosystem supporting best practice.
  • Our 2020 Workplace Equity Initiative is grounded in this insight, aiming for meaningful change through proactive engagement, better data and shared innovation.

The Diversity Challenge

Despite the widespread…

By Lauren Compere, Managing Director

Back in 2014 when Boston Common first launched its Banking on a Low- Carbon Future engagement climate change was an issue associated mainly with high-carbon sectors such as energy and utilities. It was relatively new to throw the spotlight on banks and make climate about financial stability.

A lot has changed since then. The Paris Agreement has given investors the regulatory framework they lacked back then and, unfortunately, the deterioration of our natural environment has seen global discourse turn from ‘climate change’ to ‘climate crisis.

How has the banking sector responded?

Stronger climate governance is…

By Lauren Compere, Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management

Our changing environment has frequently made headlines in the past 12 months, with extreme weather from a Europe-wide heatwave to record droughts in Cape Town and hurricanes and wildfires in the Americas. These events cost business billions of dollars and made it abundantly clear that climate risk has firmly arrived as a material risk for Boards to manage.

But climate is not the only sustainability risk to arrive on the agenda of Boards. There are a number of indications that corporate practices to promote diversity and support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will also come under the microscope in 2019.

Boston Common Asset Management

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