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June 29, 2013

Boston Common Asset Management Receives Business Leader in Human Rights Award
    by Robert Kropp

The sustainable investment firm is honored by the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project for promoting attention to human rights issues in the corporate sector. -- I've had the distinct honor on many occasions of writing about the valuable work done on behalf of human rights by Boston Common Asset Management, a sustainable investment firm whose shareowner activism has successfully brought the issue into the boardrooms of many corporations. So it isn't surprising to me to learn that Boston Common was recently awarded the 2013 Business Leader in Human Rights Award by Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR), an organization providing pro bono legal services to asylum-seekers and unjustly detained immigrants in the state of Massachusetts.

Boston Common “has been a leader in promoting human rights in the corporate sector and in working to create a more just and sustainable world in areas of direct relevance to PAIR clients,” PAIR stated. “They were a leading voice for immigration reform in 2011, well before its recent traction in Congress. Their positions on investment correspond to many situations our clients have faced.”

Boston Common is a member of an investor coalition that has called on Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform that includes "the most controversial component of immigration reform—the need to provide an opportunity for currently undocumented immigrants to earn a pathway to legal status and citizenship in the United States."

“Boston Common has worked to trace supply chains and conflict minerals to help end violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo; worked with all parties in rural and indigenous communities in Latin America over land distribution and development; sought guidance on investment in Burma where human rights issues have been at the forefront for decades; and divested from Cisco Systems due to its human rights record in China,” PAIR continued. “Most recently, following the Bangladesh tragedies, Boston Common has been a leading investor voice for systemic change in the global apparel supply chain.”

PAIR also noted Boston Common's association with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), describing it as “an inspiring model for the entire business community.”

“We are especially honored to receive PAIR’s Human Rights Award,” said Geeta Aiyer, President and Founder of Boston Common. “Their work provides hope and new beginnings, and it inspires us to continue our own work engaging companies to improve their human rights practices and to implement reforms that end abuses.”

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