CCLA Launches Corporate Mental Health Benchmark; Focuses on Governance, Policy

By Mario Marroquin

Early findings by U.K charity fund manager CCLA Investment Management suggest the largest global companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa may be addressing employee mental health more than companies in North America and Asia Pacific.

According to a new report by CCLA on corporate mental health, only (26%) of the 100 largest companies in the world ranked by market cap have assigned broad or senior management responsibility for mental health, while only 15% of companies have published mental health targets and objectives.

CCLA CEO David Atkin said the report and its new Corporate Mental Health Benchmark Global 100 aims to serve as a vital tool for companies to address business risks presented by mental health.

“This responsibility to protect workers can be viewed through the overall lens of how investors integrate [environmental, social and governance] factors into investment and ownership decisions,” the CEO said in a prepared statement. “This CCLA Corporate Mental Health Benchmark Global 100 report represents a vital tool for investors to engage with companies on a critical aspect of protecting workers – that is, their approach to managing the business risks and opportunities presented by mental health.”

The investment management firm said the benchmark criteria is broken down across four sections: management commitment and policy, governance and management, leadership and innovation, and performance reporting and impact.  

The criteria used recognizes companies are at different stages in their journey towards integrating mental health strategies, CCLA said in a prepared statement. However, the fund manager ranked HSBC, AstraZeneca, BHP Group and Unilever as the top companies demonstrating a strategy to address mental health.

CCLA said benchmark companies achieved a mean average score of 25%, which indicates workplace mental health is an immature business at the largest companies in the world.

“Perhaps not surprisingly, almost all – 90 of the 100 global companies evaluated by CCLA – acknowledge workplace mental health as an important consideration for their businesses and for their employees.” Atkin said. “Yet, fewer than half of companies (49%) have formalized their commitments in a policy statement and around only one in three companies (28%) has committed to encouraging a culture of openness on mental health.”

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