Super fund dumps firms on ethics grounds
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has dumped its investment in four companies deemed to have fallen foul of social and environmental standards.
The fund sold holdings in US miner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, US petrochemical engineering firm KRB, Japanese electricity firm Tokyo Electric Power Co, and Chinese resource firm Zijin Mining because the firms failed to meet responsible investment standards over corruption, human rights, safety and environmental issues.
Holdings in the four companies totalled $1.8 million, or just 0.01 per cent of the fund's $19 billion investment portfolio.
The exclusion decisions were based on information from specialist screening agency Morgan Stanley Capital International, the fund said. The agency identifies companies which breach global standards of good corporate behaviour such as the UN Global Compact.
"In making a decision to exclude a company from our portfolio, one of the tests we apply is whether engagement with the company might realistically lead to sufficient improvements," said a Superannuation Fund spokesperson. "We have come to the conclusion that further engagement by the Fund with these companies is not likely to be effective."
THE DUMPED STOCKS
- Freeport-McMoRan was excluded for breaches of human rights standards by security forces around the Grasberg mine in Indonesia
- KBR was divested over severe breaches of anti-bribery and corruption standards over an extended period of time
- Tepco was sold for breaches of environmental and safety standards prior to and including the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident in March 2011
- The Zijin Mining Group was dumped following severe breaches of environmental and safety standards.
Today's announcement comes just over a year after the Super Fund was found to have indirectly invested in several companies involved in the manufacture of cluster bombs and tobacco products, which breached its own self-imposed ethical investment policy.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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