When pension funds result in illegal settlements

In an article published on February 21, 2014, in ‘Magisterbladet’ – the periodical of Dansk Magisterforening (the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs), focus is put on the controversial direction of Danish pension funds into the West Bank.

The article portrays how the Danish pensions fund ‘MP Pension’ since 2008 has increased its investments from DKK 100 to 164 million into assets operating in favour of Israeli settlements. In light of the International Criminal Court’s ruling from 2004 of these settlements being illegal, several other investors such as Norway’s Oil Fund and Danske Bank have already stopped investments in order to avoid working against UN resolutions and steering clear of ethical and judicial conflicts at large.

Tina Mose, chairman of MP Pension’s board, argues that the pension fund’s investments are made in accordance with internal guidelines based on the Global Compact and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. But beyond these, Ms Mose says, the organisation is not in place to carry out foreign policy.

CEO at GLOBAL CSR, Sune Skadegaard Thorsen, is featured in the interesting article where he comments that the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) from 2011 constitute a paradigm shift that investors will have to take into account sooner than later.

“Many have used the Global Compact and UN PRI [the UN Principles for Responsible Investment] for what we in the industry label ‘blue-washing’. Blue is the colour of the UN and by engaging in ‘blue-washing’ an organization presents the fine UN principles without necessarily taking a political or ethical standpoint or committing to action”, says Sune Skadegaard Thorsen.

The UN, EU, OECD, ASEAN, and all member states will in the following years implement policies that make it “bad for business” if operations are not aligned with the UNGPs. This should make an obvious business case for implementation of the UNGPs – also for investors such as MP Pension.

Read the interesting article by clicking here (Danish).

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