Here at ShareAction we’ve been working tirelessly all year engaging investors to push for fair conditions for workers, for climate and biodiversity action, and for better public health.
We’re hugely grateful to all the responsible investors, partner organisations and supporters who’ve worked with us to campaign for positive change. As 2022 comes to an end, we’re taking a moment to reflect on some of what we’ve achieved together this year.
Our campaign led to a pay rise for 19,000 Sainsbury’s workers
We coordinated and filed the UK’s first ever real Living Wage resolution at Sainsbury’s. At a time when low-paid workers are facing a cost-of-living crisis, it was more important than ever to stand up and protect their rights. Although shareholders didn’t support Sainsbury’s signing up as an official living wage employer, our campaigning led to a pay rise for 19,000 workers in London.
We asked companies to report their Ethnicity Pay Gap
In July, we partnered with race equality organisations including the Runnymede Trust and Reboot to launch a campaign to lift the standard for Ethnicity Pay Gap reporting in FTSE 100 companies. Disclosing this information is a crucial step towards tackling inequality in the workplace. We’ve been working with investors to urge the biggest financial service companies to start reporting, then analyse and tackle the issues driving discrimination. We’ll be supporting Ethnicity Pay Gap Day on 8 January, to help keep up the pressure for action to create fairer workplaces.
We saw major banks step up on climate action
We’ve been campaigning for years to influence banks to improve their policies to help prevent the worst impacts of climate change. This year we’ve seen two major UK banks commit to stop financing new oil and gas fields. In October, Lloyds announced its commitment and HSBC followed suit in December.
This is welcome progress. But there is still a long way to go. This month, our analysis of Europe’s biggest banks found that they are falling short on action to tackle the climate crisis and protect nature at the scale and pace needed. We’ve written to the CEOs of each bank with tailored recommendations about how they can close loopholes in their climate and biodiversity strategies.
We urged investors to do their bit to protect nature
In December, our Head of Biodiversity Katie Leach went to the UN biodiversity summit Cop15 to make the case for investor action to protect nature. We published a briefing setting how financial institutions can do their bit to reverse biodiversity loss.
It was brilliant to see world leaders agree a new Global Biodiversity Framework at the summit. It includes a target for large businesses and financial institutions to assess and disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity. To ensure the Framework leads to the urgent action needed to protect threatened wildlife and ecosystems, we’ll be continuing to push the investment community to use it as a foundation to drive up more ambitious standards.
We’ve put global health on the responsible investment agenda
In October, we launched a new initiative to harness the huge potential of the investment sector to build healthier, fairer societies. Our Long-Term Investors in People’s Health alliance, in partnership with The Health Foundation and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation, already has the support of global investors managing $5.7 trillion. Health has long been a bit of an ESG blind spot for many investors, but we’re determined to change that.
We've been focusing on mobilising investors to push food manufacturers to make healthier products, in line with government guidelines on nutrition. We've started to look at how the biggest restaurant and café chains can improve the healthiness of their menus. In 2023, we'll be looking at other important aspects of public health.
We pushed investors to support the chemicals industry to decarbonise
The petrochemical industry is responsible for 5.8 per cent of global emissions. So far, it’s escaped the scrutiny applied to coal, oil and gas. But it can, and must, act quickly to decarbonise in line with global targets to limit warming to 1.5°C.
Working with investors, we’ve started collaborative engagements with the biggest companies in the European chemical sector. We're asking them to commit to overhaul their operations to align with the 1.5°C goal and scrutinising their plans to do so. Equipped with our recently published standard for credible chemical sector transition plans, we’ll be stepping up our engagement with key companies in early 2023 to accelerate action.
We pushed for progressive regulation in UK and Europe
In the past year, our policy experts have been scrutinising regulation in the UK and Europe, to ensure it’s helping to ensure a fairer, healthier future for people and planet.
In the UK we’ve submitted evidence to government consultations, including on rules governing insurance companies. We’ve worked with supportive parliamentarians to table amendments to strengthen the Financial Services and Markets Bill, which will have its second reading in the House of Lords next month.
In Brussels, we were encouraged to see support from four major political groups at the European Parliament to improve regulation for the insurance industry, known as Solvency II. EU policymakers proposed measures aligned with our recommendations on sustainability, including mandatory transition plans, tougher stewardship policy and 'one for one capital requirements' for insurers. We’ll be continuing to keep up the pressure and hold MEPs to account as negotiations continue.
We look forward to continuing to work with all those who share our vision of a world where the financial system serves our planet and its people. Stay up to date with our plans for 2023 by signing up for email updates.