SWEDEN – GES Investment Services, a Sweden-based socially responsible investments consultancy with clients managing €60bn of assets, has revised its exclusion list following improvements at Nestlé and Nomura but barred three other companies.
Nestle had been excluded due to reported violations of the World Health Organisation’s code on marketing of breast milk substitutes while Nomura was listed in the autumn after a Japanese court had convicted the company for gender discrimination.
GES said its dialogue with both companies has led to positive changes at Nestle and Nomura with new guidelines and ethical policies. Magnus Furugard, managing director at GES, said GES was recommending to its clients, such as Sweden’s AP1 fund, re-include the two companies and a number had made the changes already.
He said: “Since the combination of ethical criteria and active dialogue has proven so effective, GES nowadays recommends to its clients as an alternative to excluding companies that have been associated with_violations to engage with the companies through dialogue and/or AGMs. Occidental Petroleum, for example, has had very serious incidents with its security forces being violent with civilians but following a resolution at its AGM it is creating a human rights policy.”
But three companies had been added to the exclusion list, which is now 17-strong, and includes global giants such as Wal-Mart and Coca Cola. The three additions are Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Billiton (for not signing some collective bargaining agreements) and oil companies EnCana and Repsol (for being part of a consortium building an oil pipeline in Ecuador).
Separately, Ethibel, an advisory and research organisation for 19 ethical investment funds, has appointed Marc Bontemps as a director. From August he will replace Bert Van Thienen and is also a board member of the international Fairtrade Labelling Organisation.