Asset owners write to CEOs urging workplace mental health reforms

A coalition of 29 asset owners, institutional investors and stewardship service providers representing $7trn in assets has written to the CEOs of 100 of the UK’s largest listed companies, urging them to take immediate and concerted steps to develop and implement effective management systems and processes on workplace mental health.

The coalition has been convened by leading responsible investment manager, CCLA, and comprises the founding signatories to the CCLA-led Global Investor Statement on Workplace Mental Health.

Signatories include Brunel Pensions Partnership, Nomura Asset Management and Federated Hermes Limited.

The letters are directed at the companies in the CCLA Corporate Mental Health Benchmark – UK 100 to provide a reliable tool for investors to understand and compare corporate practice on mental health.

The signatories have called on company CEOs to ensure that they optimise their organisation’s performance by eliminating avoidable costs associated with mental ill-health and taking concerted efforts to create the working conditions under which every individual can thrive.

The coalition urged companies to acknowledge workplace mental health as an important issue for the business and for its employees, set objectives and targets to improve workplace mental health and report annually on progress against the company’s mental health policy and objectives.

CCLA stewardship lead, Amy Browne, commented: “Creating a workplace that does no harm to the mental or physical health of workers is not only a moral necessity but also a financial imperative. According to Deloitte, in 2021 employers saw an average return of £5.30 for every £1 invested in mental health interventions.

“In creating a positive environment for workplace mental health, companies will boost their ability to retain skilled employees, increase their productivity and reduce their financial outgoings.

“Investors have a role to play as catalysts for positive change. Twenty-nine founding signatories have stepped forward to start that change in motion. We are certain that collectively we have the opportunity to improve the lives of millions of employees worldwide."

She continued: “Our research shows that while mental health initiatives are plentiful, there is a clear lack of commitment by many senior leaders and that strategic planning on mental health is rare. We are certain that giving workplace mental health the attention it deserves offers benefits for individuals and firms, and, by extension for the wider economy and society.”

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