Ethos Foundation, an institution backed by Swiss pension, has criticised Nestlé for a lack of information relating to the E. coli-linked outbreak caused by Buitoni’s pizza that led to the death of two children in France.
Ethos has therefore recommended to oppose the discharge of members of the board of directors and management at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) that took place yesterday in Lausanne, it said.
Nestlé announced an agreement to compensation with the families of the victims of the outbreak, but the management remains responsible, and exact provisions made for litigation are not mentioned in Nestlé’s annual report, not even mentioning the case, Ethos said.
In March last year, Nestlé France was informed by the authorities of a possible link between Buitoni’s Fraîch’Up pizzas and the HUS (hemolytic and uremic syndrome) epidemic, recalling Fraîch’Up pizzas Up and closing the production plant in Caudry in Northern France.
Ethos has also criticised Nestlé at the AGM for not submitting its climate report to the vote of shareholders. Submitting the climate report to the vote would allow shareholders to measure the progress made by the company with regard to its climate roadmap published in 2020, making the board of directors accountable for the company’s commitments, said Vincent Kaufmann, Ethos chief executive officer.
Separately, a group of 26 investors responsible for just over $3trn of assets, issued a statement calling on Nestlé to commit to setting targets to improve its impact on population health.
On the eve of Nestlé’s AGM in Switzerland, the investors made clear that the company needs to rebalance its sales towards healthier products if it is to fulfil its ambition “to be at the forefront of the industry when it comes to bringing balanced diets within reach for people around the world”, ShareAction stated.
Swiss canton scheme returns -7.5%
The pension fund for the Swiss canton of Vaud (CPEV) has returned -7.5% last year, against a 8.6% in 2021, hit by equity and bond losses.
The diversification of its strategic allocation to less liquid assets, such as direct real estate, mortgages, gold, and private placements mitigated the negative returns in its portfolio, it said.
The pension fund holds 2% of its assets in cash, 6.5% in bonds denominated in Swiss francs, 4.9% in government bonds, 2.4% in corporate bonds, 1.2% in high yield bonds, 4.1% in emerging market government bonds, 12% in Swiss equities, 3.9% in emerging market equities, 12.3% in developed market equities, 26.1% in Swiss real estate, 6.3% in private placements, 3.6% in convertible bonds, 3.4% in indirect investment in real estate abroad, and 3.1% in infrastructure, and 2.1% in gold.
It has assets under management of €14.3bn and a funding ratio of 68.6%, catering for 62,081 members, including 44,833 employees and 21,248 retirees. The scheme targets a funding ratio of 80% by 2025.
Compenswiss’ funds with negative returns
Compenswiss, the public institution managing Switzerland’s first-pillar social security funds AHV, IV and EO, said the three funds posted negative net returns of -12.85% last year.
AHV closed the 2022 financial year with a positive ratio between income and expenses at CHF1.63bn, with the additional financing received after the tax reform. The IV’s fund interest payments for its debts to the AHV amounted to CHF51m in the year under review.
Investment returns at AHV – with losses of CHF4.38bn – had a strong negative impact on its operating returns, amounting to -CHF2.70bn last year, it said.
For the IV fund, the ratio between income and expenses stood at CHF122m, and investment returns at -CHF415m, weighing heavily on operating returns at -CHF293m last year.
EO ended last year in positive territory in terms of income at CHF217m, despite negative investment returns of -CHF184m. Operating returns stood at CHF33m.
Swiss cabinet consults on supervisory reform
The Swiss government has started a consultation on the reform of the supervision iof the country’s first and second pillar pension systems. The consultation lasts until 12 July.
The reform of supervisory rules aims to improve risk management, strengthen governance and controls of information systems, specifying tasks and obligations of the bodies responsible for implementing the changes.
In the second pillar, the reform would lay the basis to secure the funding of pension obligations and transfer pensioners´ portfolios.