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Global Pension Fund Dumps Wal-Mart Stock

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 12, 2006 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/global-pension-fund-dumps-walmart-stock/

One of the world’s largest pension funds has sold its Wal-Mart stock, citing the retailer’s “serious and systemic violations of human rights and labour rights.”

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund, which invests the country’s surplus oil revenue for future generations, announced that it had dropped Wal-Mart from its portfolio and sold more than $400 million worth of the company’s stock.

The fund, which is now worth $240 billion, is expected, given current growth rates, to be the world’s second largest retirement fund by year’s end. It is managed by the Norwegian Ministry of Finance.

The finance ministry acted to dump Wal-Mart after a recommendation from its ethical council, which was established in 2004 to guide investment decisions. The council examined Wal-Mart’s operations in North America and the operations of its suppliers in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and China. It concluded that investing in the company “entails an unacceptable risk that the fund may be complicit in serious, systematic or gross violations of norms.” Its report cited pressure on store employees to work overtime without compensation, discrimination against women in terms of pay and promotions, hazardous working conditions at suppliers’ factories, and aggressive anti-union tactics.

Wal-Mart has no stores in Norway, which has limited the construction of superstores through its national planning policies.

The oil fund has excluded a total of 19 companies, most of which are arms manufacturers. Wal-Mart is the first retailer boycotted by the fund.

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About Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.  She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin.  Connect with her on twitter and catch her TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy. More

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