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Church investors pressure hotel owners on slavery

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26 September 2011

The Church Investors Group is to use its financial muscle to press UK hotel groups to take action to ensure they don’t become complicit in human trafficking and exploitation during next year’s London Olympics.

The Group (CIG), which boasts nearly 40 members in Britain and Ireland with around £12bn in assets between them, made the commitment at a global meeting of church investors in Paris last week.

It has since invited Intercontinental Hotels Group, owner of Holiday Inn, and Whitbread, owner of Premier Inn (pictured), to meet its members this autumn.

CIG hosted the Paris event to explore issues that church investors from across the world might collaborate on to drive up standards within global corporates.  Recent collaborations included applying pressure to News Corporation and BP in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The investors say that local engagement expertise combined with aggregated global church shareholdings can create a powerful lever to improve corporate performance on environmental, social and governance issues. 

Richard Nunn, chair of CIG, explained that one example of future work relates to the London Olympics.  “US investors are working through the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility to reduce corporate complicity in human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  

“CIG has now agreed to take this forward with UK-listed hotel groups.

“It is important we use our voice as investors to hold companies to high ethical standards.  This meeting has helped us form alliances around issues important to church investors.”