Chapter 7: ESG and workforce engagement: Experiences in the UK
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This chapter explores the interaction between the recent changes to the UK’s Corporate Governance Code 2018, which encourage companies to engage with their workforce in various ways, and the dramatic rise in institutional investors’ public commitments to environmental, social and governance matters (ESG), which policymakers expect to inform engagement activities under the UK’s Stewardship Code 2020. In particular, we ask how far institutional investors (IIs) who commit to ESG are pushing to enhance or deepen processes of workforce participation and examine the extent to which companies are appointing workforce directors. Our analysis identifies little if any commitment on the part of IIs to push companies to put in place and deepen arrangements for workforce engagement. Overall, the chapter highlights the limitations of relying on IIs, even those who are publicly committed to ESG, to drive deeper workforce engagement by investee companies.

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