Resilient Supply Chains

Respect for labour rights in company supply chains has been an important engagement theme for Storebrand over the years. Building on this work, it will be make it our main focus theme for engagement within social issues in 2021-2023.

After watching the devastating effects, the pandemic has had on millions of supply chain workers' health and their precarious working conditions, it is more important than ever to build more resilient supply chains. The pandemic has made all vulnerabilities in supply chains even more visible and it also gives us a better opportunity to discuss and address them with companies across different sectors.

We understand that many of the challenges in supply chains cannot be solved just by companies or investors alone and thus a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to make progress. For this reason, Storebrand is participating in different engagement initiatives that also adopt such an approach and cover different issues pertaining supply chains and involved different stakeholders, not just the companies.

For example, we are signatories and participate in engagements on forced labour, in general, based on data from Know-the-Chain in collaboration with the Investor Alliance for Human Rights. More specifically within this issue, we are also involved in engagements discussing the situation of Uighurs in the Xinxiang region in China. Within the Investor Alliance, Storebrand has also been engaging with companies on Covid-19 measures in the supply chain for over a year. In 2021, Storebrand joined the Platform for Living Wages Financials too to have more leverage on this issue by joining other investors and a more structured approach through research, methodology and dialogue with other stakeholders. Addressing living wages and helping to create the structures supporting them, not only has an effect on workers' health and working conditions in general, but it also allows for the eradication of other social issues such a poverty, child labour, forced labour and low-living standards. Last, disclosure on these issues is also extremely important for investors and therefore we support the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark initiative.

So far, Storebrand is engaging with companies within the garment, ICT, food and renewable sectors. We ask companies to carry out human rights due diligence in their supply chains and thus encourage them to:

  • Identify, assess, avoid and mitigate human right risks by implementing policies and practices in covering areas such as: Commitment and governance; traceability and risk assessment; purchasing practices; recruitment and worker engagement
  • Remediate for negative impact caused by implementation of remediation programs as an answer to their grievance mechanisms
  • Adopt a meaningful engagement with suppliers and other important stakeholders. For companies that share the same suppliers, collective dialogue can increase leverage, both with suppliers and with governments. Collaboration in multi-stakeholder initiatives, with labor unions, governments, industry association can be crucial to solve systemic risks and identify sector-wide solutions.
  • Disclose and report on efforts to address human rights risk across supply chains by using as guidance the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework and or initiatives based on them.