Archive for October, 2011

New Zealand – A World Leader

Back in 2007 the New Zealand Superannuation Fund decided to divest from tobacco.  The Guardians of the fund presented a detailed paper justifying the decision which you can download here.

Of particular interest in the context of the UK debate is that the NZ fund generally favours a policy of engagement with companies under its responsible investment policy, just like UK funds.  However, unlike most UK funds it has determined that engagement with tobacco companies is not appropriate:

“While our preferred approach to responsible investment issues is to engage with the company or sector, in the case of tobacco manufacture we determined that this would be in conflict to the long-term goals of a shareholder, and inconsistent with New Zealand commitments to international conventions, in particular the objectives of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  As a result, the Board resolved to divest from the sector. ”

The full news release from the time described the key issues as product safety and a conflict with the UN Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The NZ Guardians regularly list the tobacco companies that are barred from the fund (scroll down for list)


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Canadian Province Moves to Dump Tobacco Shares | World | Epoch Times

Canadian Province Moves to Dump Tobacco Shares | World | Epoch Times.


More on the Alberta decision to dump tobacco shares, including reference to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control-

“In 2003, Canada joined the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a treaty created by the World Health Organization that recommends for all countries to divest tobacco industry holdings. Norway and New Zealand are the only countries to make good on their commitment thus far.”


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Exposing the CSR Pretenders

Food for thought for all the public sector pension fund managers who think that CSR and tobacco are compatible.


By Wayne Visser

Can Big Tobacco ever be responsible? British American Tobacco BAT have engaged in extensive stakeholder consultation exercises and, since 2001, their businesses in more than 40 markets have produced Social Reports, many of which have won awards from organisations as diverse as the United Nations Environment Programme, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants. BAT has also been ranked in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, FTSE Ethical Bonus Index and Business in the Community BITC Corporate Responsibility Index, and they funded Nottingham University’s International Centre for CSR.

Yet this is the industry where, in 1994, the CEOs of seven of America’s largest tobacco companies Philip Morris U.S.A., RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, U.S. Tobacco, American Tobacco Company, Lorillard Tobacco Company, Liggett Group, Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company testified before the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of Congress, all denying that cigarettes are addictive. They lied under oath. And this is the business that, according to the World Health Organization, ‘kills more than AIDS, legal drugs, illegal drugs, road accidents, murder and suicide combined’. Of everyone alive today, 500 million will eventually be killed by smoking, and while 0.1 billion people died from tobacco use in the 20th century, 10 times as many will die in the 21st century. Isn’t responsible tobacco an oxymoron?

via Exposing the CSR Pretenders.

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Alberta Moves to Dump Tobacco Shares | Canada | Epoch Times

Alberta Moves to Dump Tobacco Shares | Canada | Epoch Times.


More on the Alberta decision to dump tobacco shares.

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Alberta pensions butt out of tobacco investments | Benefits Canada

Alberta pensions butt out of tobacco investments | Benefits Canada.


Alberta in Canada has become the latest public sector pension fund to divest from tobacco stocks.  Alberta is planning to sue tobacco companies for health care costs, and recognised the inherent conflict of interest of holding investments in these companies.  It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to sue a company you part own!

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Trainee reporter makes ‘bombshell’ discovery – Journalism News from HoldtheFrontPage






Trainee reporter makes ‘bombshell’ discovery – Journalism News from HoldtheFrontPage.

Local paper in NE England discovers tobacco investments held by Tyne & Wear Pension Fund.

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What’s it all about?

Public sector pension (superannuation) funds around the world invest some of their funds in tobacco companies in the form of shares and bonds.  Here in the UK virtually all local authority pension funds do so.  This site exists to robustly challenge that position with one simple aim:  to eliminate public sector pension fund investment in tobacco companies.




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