Monday, March 31, 2008

AI has a Share Power blog

Amnesty International Canada has a blog for this year's Share Power Campaign. Here is the latest entry, posted by Tara Scurr.

Share Power is an annual campaign by AI that harnesses the powerful connection between individuals and corporations to promote corporate social responsibility, especially pertaining to human rights.
Amnesty's Business and Human Rights programme launches pension fund campaign

March 30, 2008

If you want to be in the know about how your Canada Pension Plan contribution may help or hinder human rights, you need to keep reading!

Eight fast facts about the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board:

* All Canadians over the age of 18 who earn an income must pay a percentage of their earnings into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Quebec Pension Plan. There are currently 17 million contributors in Canada.

* The CPP Investment Board (CPPIB) is a federal Crown corporation, created in 1998 to invest CPP contributions in order to maximize returns without undue risk.

* The CPPIB operates independently of the CPP and at arm’s length from federal and provincial government. The CPPIB is accountable to Parliament, as well as to federal and provincial finance ministers.

* The CPP Fund has a net worth of over $120 billion dollars. Over $68 billion dollars is invested in companies (equities).

* The CPP Investment Board holds shares in a wide range of companies, including companies that Amnesty Canada and other organizations are campaigning on.

* Just over 56% of CPP’s assets are invested in publicly-traded stocks.

* The CPP’s investment strategy is guided by its Policy on Responsible Investing. The policy recognizes that long-term responsible corporate behaviour on environmental, social and governance factors (ESG factors) can generally have a positive influence on long-term corporate financial performance. But it is important to understand that the CPPIB looks at ESG factors only as they affect the potential risk and return of investments.

* They have a legislated and fiduciary duty to apply only investment criteria to investment decisions.

Once a week over the next 12 weeks, Amnesty International Canada will share information about the Canada Pension Plan and help you take action for human rights.

During the first week, we'll introduce you to the CPP and the CPPIB. Over the next couple of weeks, we will share more details about how the CPP/CPPIB works: for instance, we'll look at how the CPPIB votes on shareholder resolutions under their Proxy Voting Guidelines.

With the power of owning many shares, on behalf of the Canadian public, the CPPIB can have a major influence on corporations via their voting at company AGMs. We want to examine this voting record and encourage the CPP-IB to vote for human rights on our behalf.

We hope that you will follow along each week, learning more about how our money is invested, and take action along the way to engage with the CPPIB in a dialogue that may lead to positive changes in their policies. We will talk to employees of the CPPIB and we will share those communications with you whenever possible.

So, please join us on the 12-week CPP Campaign!! We think it will be informative for all Canadians curious about how their investments are used. Our hope is that by understanding our own pension plan contributions, we will help improve human rights. If you have any comments at all as we go along, please do not hesitate to post them.

To get notification when new information is posted to this blog site, please send a message to and put "CPP campaign" in the subject heading. Otherwise, check back weekly between now and June 30.

AI Canada's Business and Human Rights programme

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