Global index provider FTSE Group today announces a new, more stringent set of human rights criteria for the socially responsible index series FTSE4Good, as part of its ongoing strategy to raise the standards for entry into the index series. The enhanced criteria means companies will have to raise their human rights standards, beginning in September 2003, to qualify for the index series.
FTSE Group undertook a broad public human rights consultation during 2002, the first of its kind, with almost 200 responses from corporations, fund managers, non-government organisations and private investors. These responses formed the basis of the new criteria.
Companies operating in the Global Resource Sector must meet the higher human rights criteria by September 2003. Companies with significant involvement in high-risk countries, as defined by the Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS), must meet higher human rights standards starting March 2004. In addition to this, the FTSE4Good Advisory Committee intend to announce in March 2004 an implementation timetable for all companies, regardless of sector or geography, to have a basic human rights policy in place.
Chris Marsden, Chair of the Amnesty International (UK) Business Group said: We welcome the new FTSE4Good criteria and FTSEs role in helping to put human rights on the business agenda. Clearly a lot of companies will have to work hard to meet these criteria.
Will Oulton, Deputy Chief Executive FTSE Group said: The enhancement to the human rights criteria for the FTSE4Good index series is the second major revision since it was launched in July 2001. The environmental criteria were the first to be revised and following an extensive engagement programme, the majority of companies made significant improvements to meet the criteria. We are confident that by working closely with companies to help them understand the enhancements to the human rights criteria we will again see significant steps made to improve standards.
Over time the FTSE4Good Advisory Committee will also extend the higher requirements to other specific sectors, in addition to the Global Resource Sector announced today.