U.K. defined contribution multiemployer plan The People's Pension has removed £226 million ($306 million) worth of investments from its stock portfolio due to some companies failing to meet its ESG standards, a spokeswoman confirmed.
The £16 billion plan, which is sponsored by B&CE, West Sussex, worked with its equity manager State Street Global Advisors to divest 150 stocks from its £11.5 billion equity portfolio.
The divestments target controversial weapon producers as well as companies whose operations have links to human rights violations, labor and environmental standards violations and corruption. The companies were not named.
As engagement with companies that flagrantly breach such practices is unlikely to work, the fund took a "decisive action" to remove investments from these holdings, in the best interest of its plan participants, the spokeswoman said.
Jon Cunliffe, managing director of investments at B&CE, said in a news release Wednesday : "We've taken the significant step of divesting from companies which fail to meet our ESG standards because of the risks they pose to member accounts and the reputation of the scheme.
"Both SSGA and our trustees have worked very hard to get to this point, and we know that this decisive action will have the support of our members as our polling tells us that responsible investment is important to them."