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US funds ask firms to back ethical trading

March 2000

The head of New York City’s pension funds has written to food companies in the United States urging them to adopt and implement the SA8000 ethical trading standard.

In a letter to individual food company chief executives, Alan Hevesi, comptroller of the City of New York, urges them to press their boards ‘to require that suppliers adopt and adhere to the [SA8000] standard’ as part of any future contractual agreements.

The letter does not threaten to withdraw investments, but makes clear that fund managers are available to discuss the matter over the next few months.

In his letter to Durk Jager, chief executive of Procter & Gamble, Hevesi points out that the New York City pension funds own more than five million shares in the company.

SA8000 is run by the US-based Council on Economic Priorities. Companies which adopt the standard agree to abide by rules on labour conditions and to seek compliance from suppliers. Among US companies to have signed up are Toys R Us, cosmetics retailer Avon and the clothing company Eileen Fisher.




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