International Law Programme at Chatham House

Zoom Webinar

Chair: Harriet Moynihan, Acting Director, International Law Programme, Chatham House

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Overview:

2020 was a tipping point for investors to think and act more responsibly, galvanized by catalysts like the killing of George Floyd and the pandemic. There is increasing investor support for social and environmental causes. Younger investors are placing increasing emphasis on values and social issues in their investment decisions.

The ‘S’ in the ESG agenda is clearly gaining traction, but how far does it extend to civil and political liberties – i.e. the right of citizens, NGOs and journalists to speak freely, assemble and associate – which are increasingly shrinking around the world? While there is increasing focus on human rights issues such as modern slavery and supply chains, civil society space issues often fall between the cracks when investors consider ESG.

This webinar will highlight the crucial relationship between an open civic space and a profitable business environment. It will also explore the opportunities and challenges that arise for the investor community in terms of factoring civic space issues into their political risk and ESG analysis. To what extent are civic space issues being factored into ESG social purpose values, especially by younger investors? What is the best methodology for assessing these issues in order to ensure a common and coherent set of global standards in this area? And how can investors mitigate the risks of their activities to civic space in practice?