In the same way that “making gender a stronger, more explicit criterion within ESG analysis helps investors view other ESG issues with clearer gender considerations in mind” (Croatan Institute, 2014), an explicit migrant lens helps investors to better understand and respond to risks and opportunities related to migrants within the context of their existing responsible investment mandates.
Investors can also engage with policymakers and use their rights as shareholders to engage with publicly listed companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues that affect migrants and refugees. Some recent examples include:
Human rights abuses: Some pension funds have either divested from or used their rights as shareholders to engage on human rights issues with Transfield Services, a private firm that has been contracted by the Australian Government to operate off-shore migrant detention centers.
Diversity on corporate boards and senior management teams: The Shareholder Association for Research and Education, which provides engagement services to smaller and mid-sized investors, has encouraged policy-makers in Canada to expand corporate disclosure rules on board diversity to include dimensions such as racial and ethnic diversity on corporate boards and in senior management positions.
Diversity in capital allocation decisions: Another dimension to this issue is diversity within investment institutions themselves. For example, investors that are making capital allocation decisions: do they themselves have diverse board and management? California Public Employees Retirement Fund recently emphasized the importance of diversity within its own organization.
There are several other ways that migrant integration interacts with the ESG performance of public corporations and projects. Consider for example, forced migrant labour and forced displacement of people living in conflict zones where extractive sector companies operate. These migrant-specific issues will need to be understood by all investors and not just 'mission-driven' or 'impact' investors. For other examples of how responsible investors can incorporate migrants into their investment decision-making and analysis, see Products & Strategies.