GES Investment Services and UN Global Compact Communication on Progress 2007-2008
GES Investment Services joined the UN Global Compact in 2004. Through our business practices we are continuously committed to bring Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) services to institutional investors and asset managers. In practice this means that we on a daily basis work to advance the ten UN Global Compact Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption in relation to a number of quantitative and qualitative analysis services.
As a responsible corporate citizen GES Investment Services is also committed to, and a signatory of, the UNEP Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Furthermore, we actively promote the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) amongst investors and companies.
Our External Practical Actions and Outcome
Our premier opportunity to make a difference is through our services. They are based on international norms as expressed in the UN Global Compact Principles and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. During 2007-2008, this has rendered us a 20 percent increase in assets under our advice, now totalling 300 billion Euros.
The philosophy behind GES’ services is essentially that all international norms agreed upon between countries and their multilateral organisations are of importance to companies operating in those countries and that they eventually will be judged in accordance with these norms by the authorities, the public and their representatives, NGO’s, media etc. Therefore these agreements serve as a reasonable foundation for evaluating companies.
On behalf of our clients – including more than 70 pension funds, banks and other investors – we perform ESG screening of more than 5,000 of the largest listed companies in the world. Where relevant we engage in dialogue and active ownership in order to improve performance. Our activities consist of company dialogue and meetings, resolutions and voting, as well as coordinating the work of several of our clients. During 2007-2008 notable progress has been achieved with numerous companies regarding several of the UN Global Compact Principles, for example:
A company associated to human rights conflicts with indigenous people has agreed to a proposal from GES’ clients and other investors to conduct an independent human rights impact assessment.
A company associated to child labour has, in dialogue with GES and in a meeting with one of GES’ clients, documented that they are addressing the problem and progress has been confirmed by other sources.
A company associated to severe ground water contamination has agreed to discuss with GES how to report more transparently on their environmental liabilities and the plans for managing them.
A company associated to corruption has given GES documentation of substantial measures undertaken to strengthen policies and procedures in order to avoid a recurrence.
Our Internal Practical Actions and Outcome
GES Investment Services has adopted an environmental policy. Travelling is our major environmental impact, and we uphold a travel policy recommending train transportation when travelling less than 600 km. Using 2007 as the baseline, we are now accounting for CO2 emissions with an ambition to increase our efficiency by five percent annually and in relation to the increasing amount of assets under our advice (our Carbon Quota). In alignment with this, through a specially developed internal data base solution, we have facilitated better opportunities for employees to occasionally work from home. Furthermore the company seeks to substitute meetings between our Swedish, Danish and Polish offices through conference calls.
To be perceived as an attractive company both by the staff and society is an important success factor for GES Investment Services and during 2008 we will also be developing indicators for continuously improving our internal work within the area of ESG – to better live as we learn. In everything we do we take pride in being responsible – as individuals and as a company.
President and Managing Director, GES Investment Services
September 23, 2008