P+, Frederiksberg, Denmark, the 148 billion kroner ($21.7 billion) pension fund for academics and doctors, has pulled investments in Chinese solar panel manufacturers due the risk of being linked to forced labor activities.
The pension fund cited the high risk of solar panels in the Xinjiang province being manufactured by imprisoned ethnic minority Uyghurs, according to research by Sheffield Hallam University.
"Reports, which are based on both testimony and leaked documents from Chinese authorities, show that Uyghurs are, among other things, being exposed to surveillance and arbitrary detention, just as they risk ending up in internment camps and being put to forced labour," said Kirstine Lund Christiansen, head of responsible investments at P+ in a blog post on the pension fund website.
In total, P+ reviewed its portfolio and divested from 10 Chinese companies that it believed to be closely connected to labor issues in Xinjiang. A further 10 companies that were exposed via supply chains have been placed under heightened observation and active engagement.
P+ also stressed that it remained committed to its goal of having at least 15% of its portfolio invested in climate-friendly investments by 2030. The pension fund has already excluded coal companies, and the largest oil and gas companies from its portfolio. In 2023, P+ invested 2 billion kroner in renewable energy.
Chinese manufacturers currently produce more than 80% of the solar panel market, according to an estimate by the International Energy Agency.