Denmark’s MP Pension has cut Saudia Arabia and 13 other countries from its investment universe on the grounds of systematic human rights violations.

As a result, the Danish labour-market fund for academics has blacklisted a total of 30 countries.

Anders Schelde, MP Pension’s CIO, said: “With this step, we are getting the most consistent criteria for responsibility in the financial sector, when it comes to investment in government bonds.

“This is an area we have been working on for a long time, but now the time has come to redouble our efforts to promote respect for human rights.”

Around DKK400m (€53.6m) of investments would be reinvested over the next two years as a result of the change, MP Pension said.

“It really is no easy task, but we will try to do it in the best possible way by being very methodical and basing our decisions on a broad information base,” Schelde said.

The pension fund said it had screened countries quarterly for many years in relation their approach to the environment, human rights, good governance and corruption, but now it was toughening its stance.

The decision also meant companies controlled by the blacklisted countries were included in the investment.

Schelde said the pension fund placed a lot of importance on trends, and would “support a country that is going in a positive direction, but on the other hand we will withdraw more quickly if the level is low and the trend points downwards”.

Schelde told IPE back in March about the relatively high level of resources the pension fund dedicates to ESG.

Since then, MP Pension’s chief executive has spoken out several times regarding Danske Bank’s response to its money-laundering scandal.

MP’s banned country list
Bahrain (new)
Benin (new)
Burundi (new)
Central African Republic
Comoros (new)
Congo (new)
Democratic Republic of the Congo 
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia (new)
Iran (new)
Mozambique (new)
North Korea
Papua New Guinea (new)
Rwanda (new)
Saudi Arabia (new)
South Sudan
Swaziland (new)
Tajikistan (new)
Thailand (new)