AP2, Goteborg, Sweden, divested about 200 million Swedish kroner ($27 million) of securities in Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Mexico because of "alleged infringement of human rights in working life," according to a news release. "Wal-Mart has so many documented incidents concerning the infringement of norms, both within its own operations and throughout its supply chain that, in our opinion, the existence of an inherently unethical system is placed beyond all reasonable doubt," Eva Halvarsson, CEO of the 195 billion kroner pension fund, said in the release. Ms. Halvarsson could not be reached by press time for further comment.
The alleged human rights concerns have been raised with Wal-Mart management since 2003, but "the company has failed to indicate any change in its attitude to employee rights," according to the release.
Amy Wyatt, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., declined to comment specifically on AP2's decision. But in a prepared statement she said: "We adhere to high standards in the treatment of each and every one of our associates and these matters are among our highest priorities as a company."
In May, the 1.48 trillion Norwegian kroner ($227 billion) Norwegian Government Pension Fund-Global, Oslo, divested Wal-Mart securities valued around 2.5 billion kroner, citing concerns about alleged human rights and labor violations.