Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


ABP divests from Walmart over workforce practices

February 2012

Walmart has been blacklisted by one of Europe’s largest pension funds over its labour practices.

ABP, the largest Dutch pension fund, has withdrawn from the retail giant and has said it will no longer invest in the company, citing labour practices that violate the UN Global Compact principles.

The civil servants’ and teachers’ fund, which has more than $200bn (£130bn, €157bn) in assets and has held Walmart shares worth millions of dollars for some time, had been talking to the company since 2008 about its labour relations.

Last month, however, it said that, although there had been a change, “in the end ... it was not enough”. It said the company’s continuing poor working conditions and anti-union stance made future investment untenable. Unions involved with Walmart have welcomed the withdrawal.

Although Walmart has taken well-publicised steps to embrace CSR, ABP is only the latest of several funds to divest from the firm over its labour practices, the most notable being the Norwegian Oil Fund, which withdrew $400m in 2006.

ABP also blacklisted 16 other companies, mainly for producing chemical or nuclear weapons. PetroChina was among the others – ABP disapproved of its parent company’s activities in Burma and Sudan.

The Dutch pensions fund, which adopted an SRI policy in 2007, said: “Despite efforts to convince these companies to change their ways, they still fail to comply with the UN Global Compact’s principles that ABP has adopted. ABP’s stakes in these companies have now been sold.”

ABP | Europe | SRI

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