Industriens backs away from cluster bombs
DENMARK - Industriens Pension has become the latest pension scheme to offload investments in the producers of cluster bombs, following public focus in Denmark on the ethics of profiting from such companies.
"The committee of Industriens Pension has decided that companies involved in the production of cluster bombs will no longer be a part of the investment universe," the pension scheme said in a statement.
"The decision has been reached as a consequence of Industriens Pension's ethical investment guidelines," it continued.
Its guidelines state the scheme should not buy shares in businesses which knowingly break rules laid down by national authorities in the countries where they operate, or those of international organisations to which Denmark belongs, the scheme said.
"We expect Denmark to endorse a ban on cluster bombs in 2008," said Børge Frederiksen, chairman of the board of Industriens Pension. "We have therefore decided that we will not invest in companies involved in the production of cluster bombs."
Officials at Industriens Pension were unable to clarify at the time of publication which investments were involved.
However, Danish corporate watchdog DanWatch has identified three manufacturers of cluster bombs which were previously on Industriens Pension's published list of investments.
At the end of December, the pension scheme is said to have had DKK37.5m in US-based Lockheed Martin shares, DKK400,000 in Raytheon - also based in the US and DKK3.07m in France's Thales.
Industriens Pension manages DKK46.7bn of assets altogether.
Last month, Danske Bank's pensions arm Danica announced that it would sell its holdings in companies involved in making cluster bombs.
These controversial munitions are canisters holding smaller "bomblets", which can stray from a target and remain unexploded. Like landmines, these can then be dangerous for civilians for years to come.