Sweden's seventh national pension fund, the EUR1.65bn AP Fonden 7, has unveiled a list of 30 companies that it will not invest in, for various socially responsible investment (SRI) reasons.
The 30 companies that have been removed from AP7's investment universe of 2000 firms include one that forced female staff to take part in mandatory pregnancy tests. Esstelle, which manufactures office equipment and is one of Sweden's best known firms, was blacklisted as one of its franchises in Mexico was forcing women working there to take pregnancy tests.
Other firms on the fund's blacklist include the US based firms Chevron Corporation and Sears Roebuck & Co. According to Daniel Barr, the fund's chief analyst, Chevron was struck off as vehicles manufactured by one of its subsidiaries were used by Nigeria's armed forces against civilians. Chevron's environmental record in California was also cited as a reason for the company's blacklisting.
Sears Roebuck & Co was dropped because workers at Daewoosa, Samoa, which manufactures clothes for the US firm, were held in a state of indentured servitude, Barr said. Singapore-based Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing is also banned as it is part of a conglomerate that manufactures land mines. The use and production of land mines is opposed by Sweden and another 115 countries.
Petroleo Brasileiros, a Brazilian oil company, was excluded because of its poor environmental record. The firm has been fined by the Brazilian government for oil spills. In addition to the spillages, the firm has also been blamed for the deaths of workers on a sunken oil platform following a series of explosions.
Barr said that the exclusion of the 30 blacklisted companies from the fund's investment universe would have an insignificant impact on returns. According to Barr, the exclusion of the 30 companies on the black list, would have affected the fund’s returns by 0.15% during the last two year period that they were included in its portfolio.
Firms on the SRI blacklist will be excluded for a maximum of five years. The fund was assisted by Etik Analytikerna, a Swedish ethical research company.
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