Sustainability Digital – March 2021

Engagement: labour rights and covid-19

This session looks at how investors can influence investee companies to change their focus and put people before profits to create a more sustainable economy. It looks specifically at the actions of corporations during the COVID health crisis and the rights of workers.


Michael Garland is Assistant Comptroller for Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment for New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. The Comptroller serves as investment advisor, custodian and a trustee to the New York City Pension Funds, which have more than $190 billion in assets under management and a long history of active ownership on issues of corporate governance and sustainability.

Garland and his team are responsible for developing and implementing the funds’ active ownership programs for public equities, including voting proxies at approximately 11,000 portfolio companies around the world; engaging portfolio companies on their environmental, social and governance policies and practices; and advocating for regulatory reforms to protect investors and promote sustainable capital markets. Recent initiatives include spearheading the Boardroom Accountability Project launched in fall 2014, which has helped to establish proxy access as a fundamental right at hundreds of US companies.

Garland serves on the Council of Institutional Investors’ board of directors, where he is public fund co-chair; the Broadridge independent steering committee; and the Grant & Eisenhofer ESG Institute oversight board. He also serves as Comptroller Stringer’s designated representative to the board of directors of CERES, a non-profit that works with investors, companies and capital market influencers to take stronger action on the world’s biggest sustainability challenges.

Pot started at APG in 2008 and currently works in the New York office with the capital markets teams on engaging US companies and further integrating environmental, social and corporate governance considerations in the investment process. She is responsible for sustainability dialogues with companies and for APG’s inclusion/exclusion policy. Before joining APG, she coordinated the human rights and business sector program of Amnesty International Netherlands, and managed a sustainable investment fund at ING. She has a Masters of Political Science, International Relations, Human Rights and International Law from the University of Amsterdam.


Tate has been an investment industry media publisher and conference producer since 1996. In his media career, Tate has launched and overseen dozens of print and
electronic publications. He is the chief executive and major shareholder of Conexus Financial, which was formed in 2005, and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
The company stages more than 20 conferences and events each year –
in cities which have included London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Beijing, Sydney and Melbourne – and publishes three media brands,
including the global website and strategy newsletter for global
institutional investors One of the company’s signature events is the bi-annual Fiduciary Investors Symposium. Conexus Financial’s
events aim to place the responsibilities of investors in wider societal, and political contexts, as well as promote the long-term stability of markets and sustainable
retirement incomes. Tate served for seven years on the board of Australia’s most high profile homeless charity, The Wayside Chapel; and he has underwritten the
welfare of 60,000 people in 28 villages throughout Uganda via The Hunger Project.

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