Denmark’s AkademikerPension announced it is blacklisting Chinese surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision, after the firm failed to produce a promised report on its role regarding human rights in China’s Xinjiang Province.
The labour-market pension fund said it had now divested the DKK17m (€2.3m) of shares it held in the company, which it said had provided equipment for the systematic monitoring of minorities in “re-education” camps where over a million Uighur people were being held captive.
Jens Munch Holst, AkademikerPension chief executive officer, said: ”In short, we have lost patience with the company.”
AkademikerPension said partially state-owned Hikvision – which it said was also criticised for supplying the Chinese state with surveillance equipment used to systematically monitor the Chinese people – had been in investment quarantine since July, meaning it would buy no more of the shares until a further decision was made.
Back in September, the pension fund blacklisted China as a state as well as state-controlled companies, but said Hikvision had avoided exclusion at that point since it was only 40%-owned by the state. AkademikerPension’s criteria for the China exit had only caught firms with over 50% state ownership.
“We have now analysed and assessed the company as a private company that does not live up to our policy on responsibility, and that is why it is now being excluded, but it may be de-facto state-controlled, so we could perhaps have excluded it for that reason alone,” said Holst.
The pension fund said Hikvision had promised to present it with a report on its role in human rights management and its role in Xinjiang Province in 2019, “but we have lost faith that it will come within an acceptable time horizon,” said Holst.
AkademikerPension said it would continue to own shares in other Chinese firms, totalling more than DKK1.2bn.
Norway’s Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) which manages the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) excluded Hikvision in September due to “an unacceptable risk that the company is contributing to serious human rights violations,” after a recommendation from the sovereign wealth fund’s Council on Ethics.
IPE has requested a comment from Hikvision Europe.