The retirement savings of workers are invested in financial markets through a variety of investments vehicles. The main collective investment vehicles include pension funds, statutory-earnings-related pension insurance and labour-sponsored savings funds. These funds usually comprise worker-nominated and/or union-nominated members on their boards of directors - also known as trustees.

Worker and union-nominated trustees have an important relationship with the beneficiaries they represent. Indeed, the capital of workers’ retirement savings’ vehicles is allocated to publicly-listed companies, corporate or government debt along with real estate and infrastructure investments across the world. These investments play an important role in shaping the type of society that current employees will live in when they retire.

In many jurisdictions (mainly of common law heritage), trustees have a fiduciary duty of loyalty to plan beneficiaries. They discharge this duty when they take important decisions such as adopting investment policies and hiring and monitoring asset managers across asset classes. In recent years, the adoption of stewardship codes and legal clarifications have confirmed that trustees should take into account environmental, social and governance issues into investment decision making processes.

Worker and union-nominated are thus increasingly expected to take into account the impact of their funds’ investments on the type of society that beneficiaries will retire in.

The CWC works with trustee networks in countries across the world to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Reinforce national networks of trade union trustees
  2. Empower trustees in seeking impact-oriented responsible investment policies
  3. Strengthen the voice of trustees on the importance of social and labour issues in international investment chain initiatives

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