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Loyola University Chicago

Shareholder Advocacy Committee

human rights: child labor, human trafficking

Child Labor, Human Trafficking

Monsanto:   Since 2004, the Missouri Jesuit Province has led a dialogue with the company to implement and monitor a human rights policy with a focus on ending child labor.  Monsanto adopted its Human Rights Policy in 2006.  According to NJCIR, ICCR investors, following the dialogue, “were invited to take the [company’s] computer-based Employee Human Rights Training and offer feedback to improve this first level of instruction as well as ideas for a more advanced version.  Monsanto acknowledges the need for the Human Rights policy to evolve.  In addition to extending the implementation of the human rights policy beyond India, NJCIR’s focus is to work with the company as their policy is amended and adapted.”  Because of several ICCR investor concerns with Monsanto, NJCIR held a strategy call to begin building a cohesive coalition in January 2010.  The Shareholder Advocacy Committee agreed to support this initiative and, in February 2010, requested purchase of necessary stock to begin engagement. 

Wal-mart:  The Shareholder Advocacy Committee agreed to research concerns about the company’s human rights record and labor violations within the United States and with one of its suppliers, Menderes Tekstil, in Turkey.  The Committee requested purchase of the necessary stock to begin engagement in January 2010.  During the course of its research, the Committee also learned that Wal-mart, upon being alerted by The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church, directed its suppliers to stop using cotton sourced in Uzbekistan; the company also published a press release documenting its policy on cotton sourced from Uzbekistan.  The Committee agreed to consider sending a letter to commend the company for its actions against child labor, but to also call attention to human rights and labor concerns, pending further observation and University consideration.

OTHER ACTIONS: 

The Shareholder Advocacy Committee was among 300 international signatories on a letter coordinated by Catholic Health East to patrons and sponsors of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, asking them to use their influence to advertise and support campaigns that are working against human trafficking and child labor.  The Committee also signed on an accompanying letter coordinated by Christian Brothers Investment Services and ICCR to eight hotels in South Africa, asking them to help combat human trafficking during World Cup 2010. 

The Committee also continued its research on child labor in supply chains for U.S. retailers, notably with respect to state-sponsored use of child labor to harvest cotton in Uzbekistan, and participated in a number of strategy calls and webinars covering this issue.  The Committee agreed to look at Gymboree, Hanes, and LL Bean, all of which were found to use suppliers that engage in child labor in the Uzbek cotton field, and agreed to consider sending a letter of concern to each of these companies pending further observation and University consideration.

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