NETHERLANDS - The two Dutch pension funds for the metal industry, the €33bn PMT and the €21.5bn PME, today launched a joint social responsible investment policy.

Together with asset manager and pension provider Mn Services, jointly owned by PME and PMT, the two funds have drawn eight lead principles  from international agreements and standards, which will now apply to the funds' entire investments.

The principles will cover both the exclusions policy as well as voting and engagement policy so if a company makes a product, such as cluster bombs, which violates these principles the funds will divest. If companies violate the principles on a "process level", for instance by neglecting labour standards, the funds will instead start a process of engagement.

Mn Services will also use the principles for its investments with other clients too.

The eight principles cover company strategy, company governance, human rights, labour rights, the environment, anti-corruption, investment chains, and transparency.

The funds also want to use their voting rights more actively on shareholders meetings.

In a joint statement issued today, the two funds commented: "The recent attention on the personnel policy of the American supermarket giant Wal-Mart shows how an active dialogue and the voting policy can work in practice."

Earlier this year, PMT, PME, together with a group of British and Swedish pension funds, as well as other Dutch pension funds who invest via Mn Services, put forward a shareholder resolution, calling on Wal-Mart to review its personnel policy in the US.

According to the funds, this action led to cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago barring further expansion by Wal-Mart in those cities.

Moreover, Wal-Mart has now agreed to discuss adjusting its policies, prompting the shareholders to withdraw their resolution.

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