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Protecting Our Most Valuable Assets: Investor Oversight of Responsible Real Estate Standards in the Context of COVID-19

In order to better understand the approaches to workforce risks in the real estate sector, the Canadian Capital Stewardship Network (CCSN) sent a short questionnaire to ten of the largest pension funds in Canada on the steps they have taken to respond to the ongoing pandemic. Our research demonstrates a significant gap in oversight by real estate investors  and their property managers. The report finds that some commercial property cleaners  are overworked, underpaid and under protected, despite responsible investment policies from building owners.

To read the report, click here. 
To read the press release, click here.

To advance the campaign on responsible real estate in the context of COVID-19, we hosted a webinar on December 10, 2020 to discuss the report’s findings and share strategies on how workers’ capital can be leveraged to promote safe and responsible business practices in private markets.

 

Principles for Responsible Real Estate Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The ability of service providers such as security officers and commercial cleaners to provide a healthy and safe environment for all visitors, tenants and building workers is integral to professional commercial real estate management. At no time has this been more clear than during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Capital Stewardship Network has developed a set of Principles for Responsible Real Estate Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

To read the Principles, click here

To read the press release, click here

Webinar: Proxy Voting Power

How asset owners can activate their shares and make meaningful change this spring

April 21, 2020

Voting rights attached to common shares have the power to change markets for the better. Shareholder voting rights allow asset owners to influence the behaviour of companies on issues that hold implications for workers and their communities. These include executive pay, supply chain transparency, worker health and safety, and workforce oversight – issues that are critical as the current pandemic unfolds.

Using voting rights to drive meaningful change at the company level can be a challenge for asset owners because of how the investment chain has evolved. Institutional investors often delegate proxy voting to managers with minimal oversight, complicating the task of voting in a responsible and coherent way.

This webinar looks at how asset owners can ensure that their fund is seizing the power of proxy voting. Drawing on examples of past and present initiatives, it helps trustees learn about tools to exercise effective oversight in both pooled and segregated funds, how responsible voting has driven changes on the ground, and why this oversight is essential in responding to company practices in these uncertain times.

Speakers:

Shannon Rohan, Chief Strategy Officer, Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE)

Colette Murphy, Executive Director, Atkinson Foundation

Emma Pullman, Capital Stewardship Officer, BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BC GEU)

Moderator:

Hugues Létourneau, SHARE/Canadian Capital Stewardship Network

Tools for trustees: How to promote the “S” in “ESG” on your boards

Networks

Capital is invested globally, and harnessing the power of workers’ capital for a just and sustainable economy is a global effort. The following unions and organizations are actively working to strengthen stewardship of workers’ capital: