In an effort to secure comparable workforce reporting from listed companies on an annual basis, Candriam Investors Group has decided to join The Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) which will be officially launched at the end of June 2017. In the day to day analysis work of SRI Research teams, metrics are key and the lack of comparable data is a major barrier to the effective comparison of corporates’ strategies and performance.
While the last 10 years saw the market focusing on the harmonization of governance and carbon data, social metrics still lag behind…. Yet workers’ well-being within their companies (and at suppliers’ / subcontractors’ level) and human resources policies’ adequacy to today challenges have been identified as having a net positive impact on corporate financial performance, through reputation (ability to attract and retain talents and clients), or operations (lower recruitment and turnover costs, higher motivation and service quality).
Since 2015, Candriam has chosen Well-being at work as one of its 3 conviction topics, along with Energy transition and Corruption. This concretely means this subject is preferentially put forwards in our engagement activities : in 2016, within our conviction topics scope of engagement, Well-being at work actually ranked first.
Social-oriented initiatives are gaining momentum, pushed in part by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. And in this field, reporting turns out to be key as it is the only way for public audience (including investors) to assess if implementation of strategies is effective.
On the regulatory side, the UK Modern slavery act or the French duty of care bill, both support this trend. Voluntary initiatives also flourish : the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark based on the UN Guiding principles for reporting on Human Rights , the reporting guidance promoted by the Sustainable stock exchange initiative (with now more than 40 stock exchanges having published or - committing to – guidance on) are examples of these.
At Candriam we are convinced that we are now entering the phase where consolidation is needed and that WDI can perform this role : this initiative, modelled on the Carbon Disclosure Project, brings institutional investors together to secure comparable workforce reporting from listed companies on an annual basis. The data requested will cover employees in companies’ global operations and in their supply chains (Key Tier 1 suppliers for pilot year). The first year's pilot survey will go to the FTSE 50 and an additional 25 firms on other global exchanges. Signatories will receive special access to the data generated, along with detailed analysis of trends and sector comparisons.
WDI is a new programme launched by ShareAction alongside Oxfam and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development.