Workforce Disclosure Initiative: Promoting transparency from listed companies

More than 110 investors, with over $13 trillion AUM, back the Workforce Disclosure Initiative. These investors are calling for transparency from companies on how they manage workers.

The 2018 Workforce Disclosure Initiative survey is being sent to 500 global companies. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of jobs in companies’ operations and supply chains.

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Why this is important and what we’re doing about it

There are too many poor quality and precarious jobs around the world. The United Nations recognised this in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 8 calls for ‘decent work for all’. Multinational companies have a key role to play in meeting this goal. Through their operations and supply chains, they are responsible for the pay and wellbeing of millions of workers.

Importantly, it’s been shown that both companies and workers can benefit from creating better quality jobs.

As shareholders of these companies, institutional investors are well placed to make a difference. The Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) mobilises these investors to push for better jobs. The first step is to make sure companies disclose comparable workforce information. Investors can then use this data to engage with companies and drive a race to the top.

The WDI brings investors together to request comparable data from companies via an annual survey. Its ultimate goal is to improve the quality of jobs in multinational companies’ operations and supply chains.

The WDI is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and run in partnership with Oxfam. A wide range of other stakeholders are helping to shape the WDI. These include Canada’s Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), consultants Lake Advisory, and other private sector and civil society organisations. The initiative is also endorsed by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).

Reporting is key as it is the only way for the public audience to assess if implementation of a strategy is effective. We’re aware that companies are struggling with a number of requests but we think that the Workforce Disclosure Initiative should help companies in the longer term. We’re convinced that we’re entering the phase where consolidation is needed and that the WDI can perform this role.

ISABELLE CABIE, GLOBAL HEAD OF RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT, CANDRIAM INVESTORS GROUP

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Clare Richards Programme Manager - Good Work


Colette St-OngeWorkforce Disclosure Initiative