How Calvert Influences Public Policy

Calvert seeks to influence public policies that serve to strengthen shareholder rights and ensure greater investor protection. A common expression at Calvert is “What gets measured gets managed.” For example, Calvert supports broadening the disclosure companies must include in financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and advocates for greater ESG risk transparency so that investors understand how companies are managing the risks related to issues such as climate change, or their potential to be exposed to corruption, or instability in countries with poor governance. Such public disclosure allows investors to benchmark companies to their sector peers as well as helping to encourage companies to aggressively  manage the risks associated with these issues.

Calvert’s policy engagement typically involves working with other investors and often with like-minded companies and non-profit organizations. Our location within the Washington, D.C. beltway affords a high level of access to policymakers and regulators to outline the investor point of view. Calvert may author or co-sign letters to Congress and government agencies, and other opportunities for influence include delivering written and oral comments during public rulemaking sessions and testifying at hearings. 

Calvert also influences corporations and their role in political engagement by challenging them to be responsible and transparent about their role in funding elections, asking that they establish internal governance procedures for oversight of political spending and that they disclose political contributions they make, or that their trade associations make, on their behalf.

Calvert engages in public policy on a range of issues including:

Climate change and energy

Calvert advocates for a cleaner energy future through testimony, briefings, and meetings with national policymakers, including members of Congress and staff, Department of State officials, and Environmental Protection Agency representatives.

Financial market reform & legislation

Calvert has called for a stronger regulatory framework that would diminish the systemic risks highlighted by recent financial crises, strengthen consumer protection, and promote corporate governance reforms.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards

Calvert has met with the EPA key figures to make the investment case for raising CAFE standards—a  regulatory action that could improve the Detroit 3’s profit and growth opportunities by 2020—and to present our views on stronger fuel efficiency standards for cars.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Calvert fully supports United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which the U.S. currently does not support (the U.S. was one of only four countries to have voted against UNDRIP when it was first approved in September 2007).  Over the summer of 2010, the U.S. Department of State began seeking comments from Indigenous Peoples, NGOs, and others as it began a formal review of its stated opposition to UNDRIP. Calvert sent comments independently and as part of a larger group of investors to both President Obama and the State Department, urging the U.S. to support UNDRIP.

Conflict minerals

Calvert has participated in public policy initiatives and direct engagement efforts to curb the role of companies directly or indirectly—knowingly or unknowingly—supporting the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Calvert is committed to working to ensure that conflict minerals become a thing of the past. In our view, companies should be actively tracing the origin of minerals used in their sourcing practices and working with their industry peers to formalize a strong, transparent, and accountable due diligence process. In a filing, Calvert urged the SEC to insist on the highest possible disclosure requirements by oil, gas and mining companies—with the specific goal of eliminating conflict minerals. The filing was incorporated Dodd-Frank Section 1504 and signed into law on July 21, 2010.

Child and forced labor in the Uzbek cotton sector

In Uzbekistan, the third largest exporter of cotton, children between 10 and 15 years of age are forced to pick cotton during the yearly fall harvest. This forced labor is the gravest and most pronounced example in the world of a government being directly responsible for mobilizing child labor.  Calvert has worked with the State Department and as part of a multi-stakeholder coalition to encourage the Uzbek government to eliminate this forced child labor and slavery.  Calvert participated in an international multi-stakeholder initiative with other SRI firms and U.S. and Europe-based NGOs to address these blatant human rights violations. 

Calvert urged the Uzbek government in clear, direct terms to commit to work comprehensively and expeditiously with the International Labour Organization (the international institution with the greatest legitimacy and capacity to address labor issues) to take steps to end this practice over several years,  beginning with the 2009 fall harvest. In 2010, the coalition pressed the Uzbekistan government to work with the ILO by inviting it to be a full observer of the fall harvest. As part of the coalition’s  efforts, letters were sent to the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and the Ambassador, urging the country to stop using child labor for its cotton harvest and to work with the ILO.  Calvert continues to collaborate with other investors and the U.S. government to keep the pressure on Uzbekistan.

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Calvert Investment Management, Inc. serves as the investment advisor and provides sustainability research for the Calvert mutual funds and institutional investment strategies.

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