Social

50 million*

people are in modern slavery according to the United Nations (UN)

38%**

of national climate pledges incorporate socially just transition considerations

132 years***

is the estimated time to achieve gender parity globally

Promoting a fairer society

As investors, we recognise the impact that social issues can have on our investments and the role we can play in promoting a fairer society. The rights and livelihood of others are key considerations in our social pillar, where our focus areas include:
  • Human rights & communities
  • Labour & employment
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI)
We believe that the treatment of workers and communities is inherently linked to the resilience and long-term success of our investments. We also have a responsibility to demonstrate respect for workers and communities in our own activities and to encourage positive change where needed.

Social issues

The International Bill of Human Rights and core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) guide our approach. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) are our authoritative standard for understanding our responsibilities and those of our investments. Our approach to social issues entails six key areas:
  • Research
    Provide high-quality insights and thematic research across asset classes and regions. This draws on corporate and economic research, as well as insights from human rights and labour organisations (such as NGOs and trade unions) and academia.
  • Investment integration
    Understand the potential financial impacts of social risks and opportunities across regions and sectors, integrate these into our investment decisions and understand the implications for our portfolios.
  • Client solutions
    Understand client expectations in relation to social issues and incorporate this into our stewardship approach. For products with specific social criteria, additional research and consideration is made for capital allocation decisions.
  • Active ownership
    Better understand investee management of social risks and opportunities. Consider the rights-holder perspective through discussion with human rights and labour organisations (such as NGOs and trade unions) and academia. Use leverage to challenge investee practices and encourage improvements through engagement and voting.
  • Collaboration
    Collaborate with industry associations and participate in relevant initiatives. Engage with peers and policymakers to stimulate improvements and best practice.
  • Disclosure
    Disclose our approach and position on social issues, and how we influence practices in our engagement and voting reports.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

For companies aiming to create inclusive businesses which fully reflect their customer base and local markets, it is important for them to consider diversity of - background, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and physical ability.

Our DEI position statement details what we expect of companies in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion. This is a core component of our active engagement and voting approach which we are continuously enhancing. In 2022, we introduced ethnic diversity voting policies in the US and UK.

Our position statements and guidelines

For insights on other research pillars

Environment - Preserving natural capital

Climate change - Enabling a net-zero world

Cross ESG themes

Governance - Championing strong governance and business ethics

Sustainable Investing Solutions

Let’s use the power of investment to help drive positive change

Explore our approach to sustainable investing solutions

Find out more about abrdn sustainable investing

Our approach

Sustainability insights

Our team

Sustainability institute

Active ownership

Document library