Pension Program

Bloomberg BNA

Harvard Research Finds Companies Shy With Data on Human Capital

October 24, 2017

By Andrea Vittorio
On Bloomberg BNA

Many companies collect metrics on employee training, fatalities, and other aspects of so-called human capital, but they often don’t report that information publicly, according to an Oct. 23 study from Harvard Law School.

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Harvard Study: Companies Not Reporting ‘Human Capital’ Metrics Like Occupational Safety

October 24, 2017

By Sandy Smith 
In EHS Today

Human capital metrics, including occupational safety and health data, frequently are collected by a majority of global companies, yet many of these firms are not publicly reporting the information, according to a study released Oct. 23 by the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program in conjunction with the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability (CSHS). The study is: "Corporate Disclosure of Human Capital Metrics," authored by Aaron Bernstein and Larry Beeferman of the Harvard Law School Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project,

Corporate Disclosure of Human Capital Metrics
Aaron Bernstein and Larry Beeferman. 10/19/2017. Corporate Disclosure of Human Capital Metrics. Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We find majorities or significant minorities of the largest global corporations collect a variety of human capital (HC) metrics of increasing interest to institutional investors. These averages mask a sharp dichotomy between metrics disclosed publicly and those reported by respondents to an annual survey of nearly 2,000 of the largest firms traded on global exchanges. For example, about half of these companies report the average hours of training they provided to employees annually. But the figure was dramatically higher for respondents, at 84 percent, versus just 18 percent of firms assessed using public reporting. Similarly, while 52 percent of firms publicly report employee fatalities, 96 percent of survey respondents disclosed the metrics, but only 17 percent of publicly assessed companies. Comparable differentials were found across other measures. The findings suggest that investors could gain access to HC data that is material to financial performance if they request public disclosure of information already gathered by a critical mass of large corporations in major markets. However, the reporting differs among regions and countries such as the United States and Great Britain, as well as between large market cap companies compared with smaller ones.
2017 Oct 23

Corporate Disclosure of Human Capital Metrics (final conference)

(All day)

Location: 

Harvard Law School

Center for Health & Safety Sustainability/Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project Human Capital Workshop, featuring findings of PCSP paper, “Corporate Disclosure of Human Capital Metrics", (by-invitation only)

2005 Apr 27

Capital Matters III - Managing Labor's Capital: Conference

Wed - Fri, May 2 to May 4, 6:00pm - 2:20pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA

The Harvard Labor and Worklife Program's third annual "Capital Matters: Managing Labor's Capital" conference was held on April 27th though the 29th. Organized under the aegis of the Program's new Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project, this year's conference was somewhat larger than in the past, with a total of over 90 participants, presenters, and speakers, including an increased number of union trustees. In keeping with the Project's aim of enabling trustees to become more active and effective, the opening session focused directly on what should and can be done in that regard. More so than at previous conferences, recent challenges to the survival of defined benefit plans both in the private and public sector have become a subject of intense debate while similar heated arguments rage over Social Security. For these reasons several sessions were held to assess the current and future status of those plans and Social Security. There continues to be considerable and increasing pension fund activity arising as a result of ownership of shares in publicly traded corporations. One session focused on a critical assessment of the goals for such activity, for example, whether the aim is to influence corporate governance (and in what ways) or more broadly to affect corporate behavior (and, again, in what ways) and challenges to efforts to achieve agreed-upon goals. 
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2005 Oct 27

Public Sector Pension Plans: Current Challenges and Future Directions Meeting

Thu - Fri, Nov 1 to Nov 2, 9:00am - 5:50pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA

cover imageOn October 27-28th 2006, the Project convened a meeting on “Public Sector Pension Plans: Current Challenges and Future Directions.” Participants, presenters, and speakers included scholars and researchers, public pension fund trustees and officials, members of the investment community, union leaders, experts on public knowledge about and attitudes in relation to the issues, and others.

Attendees sought to enhance their understanding of the challenges that public sector pension plans face, including finance and operation and broader issues such as pressures on state and local finance, shifting demographics and workforce needs, and concerns of public sector workers about security in retirement. They also sought insights into how public knowledge and attitudes on these issues shape and are shaped by contests over the future of public sector pension plans.
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2006 Apr 26

Capital Matters IV - Managing Labor's Capital

Wed - Fri, May 2 to May 4, 9:00am - 5:00pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA

Conference topics included:

  • PENSION REFORM IN THE U.K. AND CAPITAL MARKETS
  • ENVISIONING A BRAVE, NEW, AND BETTER WORLD OF RETIREMENT SECURITY
  • HEDGE FUNDS: PROSPECTS AND PERILS - FINANCIAL AND OTHERWISE
  • TRUSTEE EDUCATION FOR ACTIVE AND EFFECTIVE CAPITAL STEWARDSHIP
  • CAPITAL STEWARDSHIP AND DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLANS
  • THE STOCK MARKET, CORPORATE GOVERNANCE, AND SUSTAINABLE PROSPERITY
  • WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATUS AND FUTURE OF RETIREE HEALTH BENEFITS?
  • LABOR AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT ACTIVISM: THE PRACTICE OF AND PROSPECTS FOR COLLABORATIOn
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2007 May 02

Capital Matters V - Managing Labor's Capital

Wed - Fri, May 2 to May 4, 6:00pm - 2:00pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA
  • CRITICAL CHALLENGES FOR PENSION FUND GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
  • CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTMENT
  • CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN THE UNITED STATES
  • ENSURING RETIREMENT SECURITY FOR ALL
  • THE RELATIONSHIP AMONG CORPORATE FINANCE AND GOVERNANCE AND LABOR-MANAGEMENT AND OTHER WORKPLACE IMPACTS
  • SECURITIES CLASS ACTION LITIGATION: WHAT HAS IT ACHIEVED? WHO HAS BENEFITED?
  • WHAT MAKES FOR EFFECTIVE LABOR REPRESENTATION ON PENSION BOARDS?
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2008 Apr 16

Capital Matters VI - Managing Labor's Capital

Wed - Fri, Apr 18 to Apr 20, 5:00pm - 2:00pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA
Fortune Teller Painting
"The Fortune Teller," Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, c 1595

LOCUSTS VERSUS LABOR: HANDLING THE NEW CAPITALISM

  • TURMOIL IN FINANCIAL MARKETS: CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES, AND CHOICES
  • CORPORATE GOVERNANCE REFORM: WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS IT MADE OR COULD IT MAKE FOR WORKERS?
  • LABOR IN CAPITAL MARKETS: SQUARE PEGS AND ROUND HOLES
  • PENSION FUND (AND OTHERS’) ENGAGEMENT ON CORPORATE LABOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES
  • SHOULD A PENSION FUND MAKE PROPERTY INVESTMENTS THAT ARE LABOR FRIENDLY? IF SO, HOW?
  • CAPITAL STEWARDSHIP WITHIN AND ACROSS BORDERS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
  • NOVEL, YET PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS TO RETIREMENT SYSTEMS WOES: THE DUTCH AND OTHER EXPERIENCE ABROAD; A NEW APPROACH TO EMPLOYMENT-BASED PENSIONS; A NEW APPROACH TO RETIREMENT SECURITY FOR ALL
  • WHAT TO DO WHILE WAITING FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH INSURANCE: ARE VEBAS AND OTHER PRE-FUNDED SCHEMES PART OF THE SOLUTION OR PART OF THE PROBLEM?
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2009 Mar 26

Long-Term Investment Decisions: Assessing the Sustainability Risks of Labor and Human Rights and Other Workplace Factors

6:00pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA

On March 27-28th the Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project convened a meeting on “Long-term Investment Decisions: Assessing the Sustainability Risks of Labor and Human Rights and other Workplace Factors.” The meeting brought together about 45 people from major U.S. and European pension funds, investment management, advisory, and research firms, accounting firms, labor and human rights groups, unions, and academics. The goal was to hold a workshop-style event to exchange ideas about how investors can begin to measure a wide range of workplace-related factors and analyze their potential materiality to long-term portfolio returns. The meeting covered a range of topics, including labor and human rights in global supply chains; human capital factors such as employee ownership, teams, and high-performance work systems; and shareholder engagement actions on such issues. The discussion yielded recommendations for research in a broad range of topics; proposals for practical action by participants, such as the establishment of a network to exchange information and ideas; and the application of those findings to investment decision-making and possible engagement with corporations. 
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2009 Apr 29

Capital Matters VII - Managing Labor's Capital

Wed - Fri, May 2 to May 4, 6:00pm - 2:00pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA

coverThe Pensions Project held its 7th annual “Capital Matters: Managing Labor’s Capital” conference on April 29 – May 1, 2009. Many of the sessions related to the challenges posed by the world- wide financial and economic meltdown but also the opportunities. For example, the conference opened with a European labor perspective on the impact on how the financial and economic meltdown has played out in European financial markets and economies, the diverse responses of European Union countries and perspectives on financial markets regulation.
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2009 Dec 10

Capital Matters in Europe 2009

9:00am to 5:00pm

Location: 

International Trade Union House, Brussels

The Project worked with the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC)  (with the Global Unions Committee on Workers Capital as a knowledge partner) to convene a meeting modeled on the Project’s annual  “Capital Matters: Managing Labor’s Capital Conference.”  This one-day event, “Capital Maters in Europe 2009,” took place in Brussels on December 10th.  It brought together member-nominated pension fund trustees, trade union officers, pension and other experts and policy makers who offered views and shared experiences from across Europe and from a transatlantic perspective.  It focused on how workers’ and their families’ retirement and other long term savings can be invested in productive assets in the real economy in a fair, sustainable and responsible way and not diverted into unproductive financial transactions and speculation.
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2010 Apr 21

Capital Matters VIII - Managing Labor's Capital

Wed - Fri, Apr 25 to Apr 27, 6:00pm - 2:00pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

coverAmong the topics on which this year’s Capital Matters conference focused were systemic risk and its pension fund and other implications, various aspects of pension fund risk management, a rethinking of fiduciary duty, an assessment of the success of capital stewardship, challenges faced by employment-based retirement plans and the broader challenge of retirement security for all households, and the new landscape of pension fund investment in infrastructur0
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