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ABP divests from Walmart, PetroChina over 'violation' of UN principles

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  • ABP divests from Walmart, PetroChina over 'violation' of UN principles

NETHERLANDS - The €239bn Dutch civil servants and teachers pension fund ABP has said that it will no longer invest in US retail giant Walmart or PetroChina, the Chinese oil company.

ABP has divested its holdings in the two companies, arguing that they persist in behaviour that runs counter to the UN Global Compact's principles in the areas of human rights, labour, anti-corruption and the environment.

In a statement, it said: "Despite efforts to convince these companies to change their ways, they still fail to comply with the UN Global Compact's principles that ABP has adopted. ABP's stakes in these companies have now been sold."

The pension fund has reviewed its blacklist of excluded companies as of 1 January - its responsible investment policy dictates that it can only invest in companies that operate in accordance with the UN Global Compact's principles.

If companies fail to comply, the scheme will engage in dialogue to press for improvements. If this engagement fails to yield the desired result, companies may be excluded from the scheme's portfolio.

ABP has excluded Walmart over of its personnel policy, which "violates international directives, particularly with regard to working conditions and the opportunity for employees to unionise", according to the scheme.

PetroChina has been excluded due to the alleged activities of its parent company CNPC in Sudan and Burma.

The scheme said: "Despite our repeated insistence, ABP has to conclude that CNPC lacks adequate policies to prevent involvement with human rights violations in these countries."

As a matter of principle, ABP does not invest in companies producing anti-personnel landmines, cluster ammunition, chemical and biological weapons, or nuclear weapons that violate non-proliferation treaties.

Sovereign debt issued by countries under a UN Security Council weapons embargo are excluded as well.

External ESG research institutes update the scheme's blacklist twice a year.

In addition to Walmart and PetroChina, two other companies have been added to the list as of January, with both being involved in the production of controversial weapons - Poongsan Holdings, based in South Korea, and Ashot Ashkelon, based in Israel.

Five companies no longer involved in the production of cluster ammunition have been removed the blacklist, including General Dynamics (US), L-3 Communications (US), Magellan Aerospace (Canada), Valentec Systems (US) and Zodiac Aerospace (France).

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