In response to the “rapid” evolution of human capital engagements, Norges Bank has unveiled new expectations concerning oversight of human capital management.
In the August 17 announcement, the $1.4-trillion fund manager warned that it will expect issuers to demonstrate a “proactive and structured approach” towards all human capital-related issues, including workers’ pay, diversity, and employee recruitment and retention.
Issuers will be expected to enhance disclosure concerning human capital risk management, publicly reporting in line with international best standards, such as recommendations from the Sustainability Standards Accounting Board (SASB) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
Norges also expects issuers to disclose “core information” about their workforces, such as the number of workers, employee turnover, diversity data, and relevant industry-specific metrics.
“Corporate balance sheets today generally fail to provide investors with a clear picture of companies’ investments in their human capital,” the report reads. “We therefore support the ongoing development of good practices and reporting standards that better enable us to assess the steps companies are taking to maximize value.”
Workers should also become part of the conversation, Norges said. Going forward, the fund manager expects issuers to engage workers, trade groups, and industry representatives in the development of human capital policies and practices.
Companies that fall short of Norges’ expectations may face voting action or further engagement.
Norges Chief Governance and Compliance Officer Carine Ihenacho concluded that “with this new expectation document, we make it clear to the companies that human capital will be a priority in our ownership work going forward. We are clear on what our expectations are. We will influence the companies through dialogue and voting, and we will hold the boards accountable.”