Our support for company action to protect human rights
The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine touches all of us in profound ways. While confronting Russian state-sponsored aggression is first and foremost the job of governments, companies are also rightly responding: halting commercial relations, pulling out staff when possible, and stepping back from, in some cases, billion-dollar investments in Russia.
No doubt sanctions are a driver here, but companies are going further than demanded by regulators. They are distancing themselves from a regime that is demonstrably failing to uphold basic human rights.
We at Sarasin & Partners support such moves. To ignore the human rights violations in Ukraine would run contrary to our belief that one of the fundamental purposes of responsible investment is to allocate and steward capital in a way that benefits society and minimises harm.
We recognise that the situation is complex and rapidly evolving. It is not always a simple decision to exit operations; in many cases, there will be human costs for civilians in Russia and elsewhere (e.g. where Russia is vital in global food supply chains).
We support company efforts to respond dynamically, keeping the above principles in mind.
Sarasin & Partners’ actions
Our own risk assessment is ongoing, but as of 24 March 2022, we have no direct holdings of Russian-listed securities and have identified only three companies whose securities are held in client portfolios that have exposure to Russia of between 5% and 10% of revenue and less than 15 corporates with sales exposures of between 3% and 5%.
Where companies have exposure, we are monitoring them to understand the actions they are taking, and how they have considered the human rights implications of these measures.
In our engagement with companies, we are seeking a robust risk management process, adequate disclosure and strong board oversight aiming to minimise not only operational and financial but also humanitarian and reputational risks.
 Please see the full list of companies’ announced withdrawals from Russia, updated daily, here: Over 400 Companies Have Withdrawn from Russia—But Some Remain | Yale School of Management
 For an up to date list, please contact Client Affairs.