Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


investor views are sought on Kingfisher

June 1999

Investors in Henderson’s Ethical Fund have been asked to give their views on plans to add the Kingfisher group to its list of approved companies.

The fund says it will be consulting investors as part of a more comprehensive approach to screening criteria for companies.

Kingfisher breaks criteria set out by the Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS), because one of its companies, Woolworths, sells the weedkiller Pathclear, which contains the potentially harmful chemicals amitrole and atrazine.

But Henderson says its own research, based on consultation with Woolworths and the Pesticides Trust, has shown that atrazine is safe if used ‘sensibly and in a prescribed way,’ and that amitrole is no more hazardous than many other chemicals intended for household use.

It adds that other Kingfisher companies, such as B&Q, have made significant efforts to improve their environmental performance in recent years.

Henderson has now invited investors in its Ethical Fund to phone, fax or email their views so fund managers can make a final decision on whether to include the group in the portfolio.

According to Henderson, EIRIS provides only an ‘initial company screen’ for its ethical fund.

EIRIS head of client services Karen Eldridge said, ‘Henderson chose these criteria. The fact it is consulting unitholders on the further development of its ethical policy is a good example of democracy in practice. If its unitholders do prove to be concerned about pesticides, it is an ideal opportunity for Henderson to engage with Kingfisher to have the product reformulated.’


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