Date: November 3, 2021 1:00p.m. ET
Despite the growing number of institutional investors considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their investment decision making to enhance their due diligence process, most investors don't have a complete understanding of how human rights is an essential component of their sustainable investing strategy. Without adequate human rights due diligence, there is an increased possibility that investors may be connected to a range of adverse impacts on human rights caused by or linked to their portfolio companies or with business models that undermine human rights. Unfortunately, almost none of the world’s leading venture capital firms practice adequate human rights due diligence, leaving them blind to the risks caused by algorithmic bias. This poses significant risks for investors, as their VC investments can be tied to environmental, human rights and labor abuses. In this session, investors will come away with the understanding of the risks associated with investing in funds that don't practice adequate human rights due diligence, the consequences for people connected with their investment activities, and how to take action to manage those risks to align with their own ESG policies.
- Michael Kleinman, Director, Silicon Valley Initiative, Amnesty / AIUSA
- Anuradha Mittal, Founder and Executive Director, The Oakland Institute
- Nikolaj Pedersen, Senior Lead, Human Rights, UN Principles for Responsible Investment
- Susan Winterberg, ESG Consultant; Former Fellow, Technology & Public Purpose Project, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Michael Kleinman, Director, Silicon Valley Initiative, Amnesty / AIUSA
Michael Kleinman is Director of Amnesty International’s Silicon Valley Initiative. Previously, he was the founder and CEO of Orange Door Research, which helped donors, NGOs and UN agencies gather data in conflict-affected countries. Prior to that, he was Director of Investments at Humanity United, one of the Omidyar Group Philanthropies, where he worked on the intersection of technology and human rights. He has also worked for development and humanitarian NGOs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. His writing on development, human rights and technology has been published in The Washington Post, TechCrunch, Vox, The Guardian, Stanford Social Innovation Review, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, openDemocracy and McSweeneys. He is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School.
Anuradha Mittal, Founder and Executive Director, The Oakland Institute
Anuradha Mittal, founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute, is an internationally renowned expert on development, human rights, and agriculture issues. Recipient of several awards, Anuradha Mittal was recognized as the Most Valuable Thinker by the Nation magazine. Since 2008, under Anuradha's leadership, the Institute has unveiled land investment deals in the developing world which reveal a disturbing pattern of a lack of transparency, fairness, and accountability. The dynamic relationship between research, advocacy, and international media coverage has resulted in an amazing string of successes and organizing in the US and abroad. Mittal has authored and edited numerous books and reports. Her articles and opinion pieces have been published in widely circulated newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Bangkok Post, Houston Chronicle, and the Nation. Anuradha has addressed the US Congress, the United Nations, given several hundred keynote addresses including invitational events from governments and universities, and has been interviewed on CNN, BBC World, CBC, ABC, Al Jazeera, National Public Radio, and Voice of America. Anuradha currently serves on the board of the Environmental Defender Law Center; advisory board of CorpWatch; and is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company.
Nikolaj Pedersen, Senior Lead, Human Rights, UN Principles for Responsible Investment
Nikolaj Pedersen is the PRI’s senior lead on human rights. His role is to design and implement projects with signatories and partners to mainstream international human rights standards in the investment industry. Nikolaj previously held roles in the PRI’s Signatory Relations team servicing institutional investors in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Prior to joining the PRI, Nikolaj worked in the business and human rights field in Denmark in both consulting and the private sector. He has a master’s degree in International Studies from Aarhus University and holds financial qualifications: IMC and CAIA.
Susan Winterberg, ESG Consultant; Former Fellow, Technology & Public Purpose Project, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Susan Winterberg is an independent ESG consultant working with private investors, government funders and business leaders to better manage ESG issues. Susan is currently a consultant with IFC in the ESG Networks and Thought Leadership team. She previously was the Inaugural Fellow for the Technology and Public Purpose Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where her research focused on advancing responsible investment practices for venture capital funds and portfolio companies. Susan also previously worked at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), a network of ESG leads at 250 multinational companies, asset managers, and private equity funds. At BSR she led the Inclusive Economy team on addressing 'S' issues of creating good jobs, diversity, equity & inclusion, product affordability and access, and community and government relations. Her earlier career was in foreign investment facilitation for sustainable cities, where she led the Urban Planning and Development practice at the Canadian infrastructure transaction advisory firm CPCS which has implemented projects in over 110 countries. She holds a Masters in Urban Planning from Harvard University and a Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Cincinnati.
- In King Leopold’s Steps: The Investors Bankrolling the PHC Oil Palm Plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo | Oakland Institute
- Why and how investors should act on human rights | UNPRI
- Risky Business: How leading venture capital firms ignore human rights when investing in technology | Amnesty International
- Responsible Investing in Tech and Venture Capital | Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
- How Venture Capital Can Join the ESG Revolution | Stanford Social Innovation Review