Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Illinois acts on links with Sudan

September 2005

The US state of Illinois has passed a new law requiring itself to divest about $1billion (£550m) worth of pension investments in companies that trade in Sudan.

The measure was passed in the state's general assembly with bipartisan support in May and has now been signed into law by state governor Rod Blagojevich. Supporters hope it will exert pressure on the Sudanese government to end the conflict in the Darfur region, where 300,000 people have been killed since February 2003 by Arab militias, allegedly with government support.

It prohibits the state treasurer from depositing funds or contracting with any financial institution doing business in Sudan and forbids state pension funds from making loans to or investments in any company that has business dealings with the African state. Two of the five state pension schemes have invested in 32 companies trading there.

Illinois politicians who supported the law are now trying to persuade other states to follow suit. ABB, Alcatel, and Siemens have been the subject of campaigns for their involvement in Sudan.

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