One year after launching an innovative campaign to improve working conditions and quality of care in nursing homes, the Investor Initiative for Responsible Care (IIRC) is taking stock of the progress made since its debut in March 2021 and looking ahead to reforms to come.
In an update to the initiative’s signatory investors—who now number 133 and have US$3.8 trillion of assets under management—the drive’s four founding members, along with UNI Global Union, the initiative’s coordinator, note that there have been substantial engagements around a number of standard-raising reforms in the long-term care sector. The founding signatories are BMO Global Asset Management, part of Columbia Threadneedle Investments; Ethos Foundation; PIRC and Sycomore Asset Management.
When it launched, the IIRC issued shared expectations for investee companies that would address long-standing problems in the industry that were exacerbated by the pandemic, including: adequate staffing levels, expanded collective bargaining and union representation, improved health and safety, liveable wages, and enhanced quality of care.
Thus far, the initiative has raised these expectations on an executive or board level with seven of the world’s largest providers of long-term care, namely Chartwell, Fresenius, Humana, Korian, LNA Santé, Orpea and Sienna Senior Living. The IIRC has also begun engagements with the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that have a significant presence in the nursing home sector like Welltower, Ventas and Vonovia.
Additionally, initiative signatories have pushed for board-level accountability with shareholder resolutions at Chartwell in Canada. And along with the French Forum for Responsible Investment (FIR) initiative members held a briefing attended by approximately 50 investors to discuss solutions to the long-term care crisis.
“In one short year, this initiative has built a solid foundation for responsible investors to address the deep-rooted and dangerous problems that plague the industry,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “But it is clear that more must be done, and it will take a sustained massive, multi-stakeholder approach get these employers and REITs to live up to the initiative’s expectations—to put human life and people at the centre of long-term care.”