The 2-day workshop on Multinationals, Sustainability and the Extractive Industries was centred around papers being considered for a special issue of the Journal of World Business, one of the best academic journals devoted to international business. The special issue is edited by Professors Chang Hoon Oh and Daniel Shapiro of the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, and Professor Bersant Hobdari of the Copenhagen Business School.
In attendance were the authors of the papers, editors of the special issue, editors of the journal, and selected academics and students with interests in this area.
7 papers written by eminent academics were presented on Day 1, with the purpose of sharing knowledge and improving the academic quality and professional relevance of the papers:
Session 1: CSR and the International Activities of Extractive Firms
Sean Buchanan, University of Manitoba: “The role of home country industry associations in shaping MNE international CSR Practice”
Pavlos Seymeou, Cyprus University of Technology: “Internationalization as a driver of the corporate social performance of extractive industry firms”
Session 2: Impacts on Local Stakeholders
Grazia Santangelo, University of Catania: “The impact of land FDI in agriculture in developing countries on host country food security”
Natalia Yakovleva, Newcastle University: “Mining multinational enterprises and artisanal small-scale miners: from confrontation to cooperation”
Session 3: State Power and SOEs
Grazia Santangelo, University of Catania: “Race to the bottom or race to the top? The role of local labor standards on the location of foreign extractive plants”
Jakob Müllner, Vienna University of Economics and Business: “Toward a holistic framework of MNE-state bargaining in extractive industries: A case study of the Venezuelan oil sector”
Suzana Braga Rodrigues, Erasmus University: “The SOE internationalization paradox: Untangling dependence in SOE-Government relations”
Summary comments were presented by editors and commentators:
Practitioner Panel on Global Sustainable Issues in the Extractives Industries
A facilitated panel discussion was held, summarizing the research that had been presented, and defining a research agenda for the future. The panel addressed the question “what do I need to know that academic research can help with?”
Moderator: Stephanie Bertels, Beedie School of Business and Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability
9:00am – 4:30pm
This one-day seminar, co-hosted by SFU’s Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability and UBC’s Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics and led by Shannon Rohan from SHARE, built on our November workshop on ESG valuation.
The seminar was attended by students from SFU and UBC interested in learning more about responsible investment.
In this hands-on morning session, we undertook background ESG research on two companies to help student fund managers and others understand how to address ESG factors in the selection of securities.
In the afternoon, we explored stewardship, including proxy voting and active engagement, and made a plan for how the student funds can approach both of these activities.
Both sessions included the participation of industry professionals that are actively involved in responsible investment.
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Segal Graduate School, 500 Granville Street
The SFU Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability, the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and SHARE (Shareholders Association for Research & Education) hosted a special learning and networking event on the topic of “Sharing Prosperity: The Role of Investors in Addressing Inequality.”
The unequal distribution of economic benefits across society has become a headline political and economic issue. In 2015, the United Nations laid out a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to focus the world’s attention on the need for equitable and sustainable development. In developed economies investors continue to express concern that high pay leads to risky behaviour and outsized rewards for a few while stagnating standards of living built on low pay strategies are undermining economies. This dialogue event explored how long-term investors such as pension funds are grappling with the challenges of economic inequality and addressing the opportunity of shared prosperity.
Please read this Beedie Newsroom article for a detailed summary of the event: http://beedie.sfu.ca/newsroom/2017/03/beedie-hosts-panel-event-on-role-of-investors-in-addressing-inequality/
JASON MILNE, Vice President, Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management
Jason joined the private client department of Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management in 2000 and took on the role of Corporate Governance Analyst two years later. He assumed his current role in 2008 when PH&N was acquired by RBC GAM and is now part of the Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment Group within RBC GAM. The Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment Group oversees all of RBC GAM’s activities related to corporate governance and responsible investment including the more formal integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into the investment process, proxy voting policy and execution and the development of a more formal program to engage on ESG issues with the companies in which we are invested. Prior to joining the firm, he worked in the corporate finance department of a national brokerage firm and as a mutual fund accountant. Jason is currently the chair of the board of the Responsible Investment Association of Canada (RIA Canada)..
LISA NATHAN, ShareAction – United Kingdom, Campaigns Manager
Lisa joined ShareAction in October 2013. She supports ShareAction’s research and campaign work on the Living Wage. She previously worked for a global union federation in Switzerland and on a number of campaigns for economic and social justice in the United States. She holds a BA with highest honours in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
KATHERINE NG, Head of Academic Research, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
PRI’s academic research program aims to engage and inform investors with evidence and insights on ESG issues that are thought-provoking, analyse current thinking and future trends, and provides practical recommendations. It seeks to bridge the gap between the academic and investor communities. She managed the Research and Insights programme at ACCA, developing, commissioning and communicating research to stakeholders around the world. She was previously an academic researcher working on European Commission funded projects on science and society, and understands the value of research to inform policy development. Katherine has a solid background in the academic field with 15 years’ experience in policy and research.
SHANNON ROHAN, Director of Responsible Investment, Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE)
Shannon is a responsible investment professional with a focus on helping institutional investors devise and implement responsible investment policies and practices. Her principle area of expertise is devising shareholder engagement approaches for mission-driven investors. She has worked with SHARE since 2006. Shannon has a Masters in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and a BA from SFU. She brings over ten years of experience working in the area of responsible investment and corporate responsibility in Canada and internationally.
DAMON A. SILVERS, Director of Policy and Special Counsel, AFL-CIO
Damon joined the AFL-CIO as Associate General Counsel in 1997. Mr. Silvers serves on a pro bono basis as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the state of New York and is a Senior Fellow forthe Roosevelt Institute. He is a member of the Investor Advisory Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department’s Financial Research Advisory Committee, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s Investor Advisory Group. Mr. Silvers is also a Roosevelt Institute Fellow and a member of The Century Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Silvers served as the Deputy Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP. Between 2006 and 2008, Mr. Silvers served as the Chair of the Competition Subcommittee of the United States Treasury Department Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession and as a member of the United States Treasury Department Investor’s Practice Committee of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets.
Mr. Silvers led the successful efforts to restore pensions to the retirees of Cannon Mills lost in the Executive Life collapse and the severance owed to laid off Enron and WorldCom workers following the collapse of those companies. He served from 2003 to 2006 as pro bono Counsel to the Chairman of ULLICO, Inc. and in that capacity led the successful effort to recover over $50 million related to improperly paid executive compensation.
Mr. Silvers received his J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School. He received his M.B.A. with high honors from Harvard Business School and is a Baker Scholar. Mr. Silvers is a graduate of Harvard College, summa cum laude, and has studied history at Kings College, Cambridge University.
STEPHANIE BERTELS, Director, Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability, Beedie School of Business, SFU
Stephanie studies how organizations make the transition towards sustainability by undertaking practitioner informed research on sustainable operations, embedding sustainability and sustainable innovation. Stephanie founded and leads the Embedding Project, a collaborative initiative between researchers and practitioners working to embed sustainability. She also brings together companies from across industries, helping them learn from one another and to understand their own sustainability journeys. Stephanie has developed an online knowledge portal featuring a curated selection of the most relevant tools and resources to help practitioners everywhere more effectively embed sustainability into their organizations. Stephanie teaches courses in managing innovation and change; sustainable operations; and managing for sustainability in both the undergraduate and MBA programs. She has a BSc in Geological Environmental Engineering, a MSc in Petroleum Engineering and a PhD in Strategy and Global Management and Sustainable Development. She has also worked in industry as an environmental engineering consultant with Golder Associates.
This one-day seminar, co-hosted by SFU’s Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability and UBC’s Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, featured presentations from a range of professionals working within the Responsible Investing space, all aimed at helping students understand how to address ESG factors in the selection of securities.
In July 2014, Simon Fraser University’s endowment became a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (the UN PRI). At the time, SFU was only the second Canadian university to do so. This commitment includes the endowment fund managed by our two student-managed investment funds.
The graduate student fund, SIAS, the Student Investment Advisory Service, manages over $16 million of the university’s endowment portfolio funded by contributions from HSBC Bank Canada and the Lohn Foundation. The SIAS Fund is Canada’s largest student-run investment fund, and is one of the largest such funds in North America. Our undergraduate students also manage the Beedie Endowment Asset Management (BEAM) fund. Founded in 2011 with the generous support of the Beedie family, Beedie Endowment Asset Management (BEAM) is a $6 million investment fund run entirely by undergraduate students from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. Again, BEAM is one of the largest undergraduate student-run investment funds in Canada, with $6 million invested in Canadian equities, fixed income, and cash. The student managers in both of these funds are in the process of incorporating ESG factors into their management process.
While the workshop was primarily directed at student asset managers in these two funds, we were delighted to be joined also by students from UBC’s Sauder School of Business and students from SFU’s MBA and MOT programs. In total, we had 50 students join the one-day session.
The first part of the day sought to establish the foundations of ESG valuations, from the perspective of an analyst undertaking the valuation. Christie Stephenson, Executive Director of the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, began the day by outlining what Responsible Investing is and is not, the differences in terminology used within this sector and different ESG valuation strategies. Christie was followed by Heather Hachigian, a Senior Consultant at Purpose Capital, who took students through some of the more detailed key issues and questions that can form part of the ESG valuation process.
The focus of the event then switched to the source of ESG data used within valuations. Leading this discussion was Dara Edmonds, a CSR Specialist at Port Metro Vancouver. Dara outlined what drives an organisation to collect certain types of ESG data and the processes and timelines for collating it. Dara then used Port Metro Vancouver’s sustainability report to illustrate how this data can then be presented and tailored to suit the particular organisation’s stakeholders.
Christie Stephenson followed Dara’s presentation and turned the focus back the ESG valuation process, taking students through a more detailed overview of various ESG valuation processes that could be deployed by analysts. Now that the students had firmer grounding in the “how”, all that was left was to discuss the “where”. Where could students go to get reliable ESG data needed to complete their valuations? This task was given to Glenn Power, Senior Portfolio Manager, Global Thematic at bcIMC who help to navigate students through the data sources and power offered within Bloomberg.
The day concluded with a panel discussion between Christie Stephenson, Glen Power and Omar Dominguez, Director of Operations and Sustainability at Happy City. The panel shared additional knowledge and experience with the students based on their professional careers before opening up the floor to take questions from students.
Three key take ways from the day included:
Both the Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability and the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics would like to thank the presenters who gave up their time on a Saturday to come and share their knowledge and experience with the group.
Please be on the look out for the next session in our series that will focus on Responsible Stewardship addressing the topics of proxy voting and active engagement.
View the presentation slides here.
The SFU Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability, the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and the responsible investment, non-profit SHARE (Shareholders Association for Research & Education) hosted a special learning and networking event on the topic of “Building Sustainable Capital Markets: The Role of Investors.”
A panel of ESG (environmental, social and governance) experts from the PRI, the Capital Stewardship Program (SEIU), bcIMC (British Columbia Investment Management Corporation) and SHARE presented and discussed their different perspectives on how capital is allocated and invested in global, regional and national economies.
The evening event also featured introductory presentations by SFU finance students regarding the integration of ESG factors into the management of the SFU graduate student portfolio.
Stephanie Bertels, Associate Professor, SFU Beedie School of Business and Director, Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability
Co-sponsored by the SFU Beedie School of Business, the City of Vancouver and SHARE, this public event featured Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and senior representatives from SFU, the City of Vancouver and the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), who shared their perspectives on the challenge of climate change and the role trade unions, pension plans, city government, business and multilateral institutions can play in building and sustaining a green economy.
Organized by Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), and the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), this speaker event featured keynote Dr. Wolfgang Engshuber, Chair of PRI. The event was followed by presentations and discussion with the audience on the role of responsible investment in comprehensive risk management and building healthy, sustainable capital markets.
The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative is a partnership between the United Nations and global investors with the goal of promoting and main streaming responsible investment practice. Launched in 2006 by UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact, the PRI Initiative has become the leading network for investors to learn and collaborate to fulMill their commitments to responsible ownership and long-term, sustainable returns. Pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth and development funds, investment managers, service providers and other supporters make up the PRI network. Presently, there are over 1000 signatories worldwide with assets of $32 trillion.
Presented by SFU Centre for Corporate Governance and Risk Management and the Shareholder Association for Research & Education
Damon Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel for the AFL-CIO, and Edward Waitzer, Jarislowsky-Dimma-Mooney Chair in Corporate Governance at the Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School and Senior Partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP
Robert Adamson, SFU Centre for Corporate Governance and Risk Management
For a discussion on lessons from the financial crisis.