Tool launched to help charities monitor mental health impact of investments

01 Jun 2022 News

Charities should inspect whether the companies they invest in have positive employee mental health practices, an investment manager has said after it ranked 100 of the UK’s largest employers.

CCLA launched its Corporate Mental Health Benchmark – UK 100 last week, which ranked employers listed on the London Stock Exchange on how they supported employees’ mental health.

While charities are becoming increasingly conscious of mental health in the workplace, it is important they extend this thinking to their investment portfolios, CCLA said. 

Peter Hugh Smith, CCLA’s chief executive, said: “Charities have become increasingly aware of the ability to use their investments as a way of driving positive change. However, whilst charities have increasingly focussed upon the importance of mental health in their own organisations, it has not been possible for them to extend this focus to their investment portfolios. 

“By rating and then tracking the progress made by some of the UK’s largest firms, this benchmark will enable charities to better focus on this important issue. This will provide them with an opportunity to engage with their investment manager in relation to their holdings and add their voice to the engagement programmes asking poorly rated companies to improve.”

Corporations ‘on the journey’ to formalised mental health approach  

CCLA found that 44% of the companies it assessed had published “clear commitments to promoting a culture of openness” around mental health. 

While 93% of the organisations CCLA spoke to acknowledged mental health was an important business issue, only 34% published formal objectives and targets, which it said meant that “many have not yet translated their policy commitments into action”.

It picked out Centrica, Lloyds Banking Group and Serco Group as the three firms out of the 100 “leading the way on workplace mental health management and disclosure”.

But it found most firms were either “at the start of the journey” or “on the journey” towards “formalising their approach to workplace mental health management and disclosure”.

Mind: ‘Mental health affects every employer’

Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, said mental health affects every employer and under the Equality Act 2010, that they have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff, which can include employees with mental health problems. 

Farmer said: “We are pleased to be supporting CCLA’s new benchmark creating a structured, scalable way to help the UK’s largest companies build on the progress they’ve already made when it comes to identifying and tackling the work-related causes of poor mental health within their organisations.”

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