Investment coalition urges FTSE 100 firms to take action on mental health

29 groups have signed a letter to FTSE CEOs on mental health practices

Almost 30 investment management firms have formed a coalition to encourage CEOs of FTSE 100 companies to take immediate steps to address mental health in the workplace.

Led by CCLA, the letter urges companies to acknowledge mental health as an important issue for employees and address it as a business risk and ensure senior management and the board are encouraging an open culture on mental health.

In its Global Investor Statement on Corporate Mental Health, the investment groups also want FTSE firms to publish public commitments to workplace mental health, including a description of the governance and management processes in place and set objectives and targets on improving workplace mental health, which they should report on annually.

The coalition was formed off the back of the CCLA Corporate Mental Health Benchmark – UK 100, which was launched in May this year to provide a tool for investors to understand how corporates are tackling mental health.

Amy Browne (pictured), stewardship lead at CCLA and architect of the Global Investor Statement on Corporate Mental Health, said: “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.

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.”

Browne added investors have a key role to play as catalysts for positive change and was pleased to have the backing of 29 founding signatories for the Global Investor Statement on Corporate Mental Health.

Companies that have signed up include Brunel Pensions Partnership, Nomura and Federated Hermes.

A sister benchmark to the UK 100, covering the top 100 global companies in the world, will be launched in October.

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Natalie Kenway

Natalie is editor in chief at MA Financial covering ESG Clarity, Portfolio Adviser and International Adviser. She was previously global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist...