The Swedish National Pension Funds’ Council on Ethics’ Annual Report 2020:
The Council on Ethics sees clear results from collaborating on impact processes. In 2020, the privacy issues of tech companies and impact on climate transition were high on the agenda. It is clear that collaboration is crucial for having an impact on important issues requiring development and change.
Since 2007, through engagement and dialogue, the Swedish National Pension Funds’ Council on Ethics has influenced global portfolio companies to improve their initiatives regarding the environment, human rights and corporate governance. Key to the success of dialogue work is that different actors collaborate.
Statement of expectations influences tech companies
In 2020, the Council on Ethics ran a project on human rights in tech companies in response to shortcomings in how platforms can be used, seen from an integrity perspective.
The project was kicked off by the Council on Ethics and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) jointly producing a statement of expectations. This statement provides guidance that the Council on Ethics and other investors can use to influence Facebook, Google and Twitter to develop policies and to work with human rights, specifically issues concerning privacy.
“The Council on Ethic’s objective with the statement of expectations was to create a platform for dialogue on policies and increased transparency on integrity issues. We hope that the platform will not only benefit us and other investors, but also other stakeholders who are committed to the issues. Facebook has developed new policies and guidelines in line with our expectations,” says John Howchin, Secretary General of the Council on Ethics.
Prestigious award for successful mining initiative
In September 2020, The Investor Mining and Tailing Safety Initiative, led by the Council on Ethics and the Church of England Pensions Board, was awarded PRI’s prestigious Stewardship Project of the Year Award, awarded annually to the most successful impact project run by investors. The aim of the project is to map out and increase transparency regarding the safety of the world’s tailings dams following the tragic 2019 mine dam accident in Brazil. Collaboration is also in focus in this project with a good cooperation model being established between global companies, investors and UN organisations.
Climate, a consistently central issue
The collaboration of different actors is also crucial for managing climate transition. The Council on Ethics is active in Climate Action 100+, an initiative that develops plans for the transition of sectors with high emissions, such as heavy transport, steel, aviation and cement.
“The plans are based on the scalable technology available today with synergies between the different sectors. The transition is well underway and there is tough pressure on these sectors,” says Christina Olivecrona, Chair of the Council on Ethics 2020.
Read more about the Council on Ethics’ corporate dialogues and other commitments in the Council on Ethics’ 2020 Annual Report
For further information, please contact:
John Howchin, Secretary General of the Swedish National Pension Funds’ Council on Ethics
phone: +46 (0)8 – 555 17 176 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christina Olivecrona, Chair of of the Swedish National Pension Funds’ Council on Ethics 2020
phone: +46 (0)31 – 704 29 00 email@example.com
The Council on Ethics works on the basis of the Swedish National Pension Funds’ mission to create a high return at low risk to current and future pensioners and on the common value base of proactively striving for sustainable development, acting and setting requirements for transparency and positive changes. The Council on Ethics works proactively and reactively with global companies in the Swedish National Pension Funds’ portfolios. The assumption is that well-managed and responsible companies provide a higher return with lower risk over time. The aim of the Council on Ethics’ work is for companies and industries to work with sustainability systematically and in a structured, transparent manner.