The Council on Ethics Annual Report 2015 – corporate dialogues promote improvement
7 april 2016
The Council on Ethics of the Swedish AP Funds has an important task – to encourage portfolio companies to enhance their performance on environmental and social issues. The AP Funds are long-term, responsible and committed investors. The Council on Ethics’ dialogues with companies make a difference. During 2015, the Council on Ethics conducted dialogues with 178 companies around the world concerning a total of 254 incidents, pertaining mainly to business ethics, human rights, labour rights, corruption and the environment.
In 2015, the Council on Ethics has conducted dialogues with some 178 companies around the world, involving various aspects of sustainability. During the year, the Council has recommended that the AP Funds exclude two companies, Motorola Solutions and Larsen & Toubro, consequent to their contravention of conventions to which Sweden is a signatory. Over the nine years in which the Council on Ethics has been active, it has recommended that the AP Funds exclude a total of 19 companies. Four of these recommendations were retracted in 2015, after the companies in question terminated the activities that had originally motivated the Council’s recommendation for exclusion.
“The Council on Ethics’ basic premise is that the AP Funds shall abstain from investment in companies that systematically violate the international conventions to which Sweden is a signatory. Should problems be encountered, the Council on Ethics becomes actively involved, with a view to promoting improvements,” says Ulrika Danielson, who chairs the Council on Ethics in 2016.
Based on the AP Funds’ joint mission and common code of values, the Council on Ethics works preventively and reactively to make a difference on environmental and ethical issues. Preventive initiatives are of increasing importance in persuading companies and industries to act more responsibly. During 2015, the Council on Ethics has been involved in a number of proactive initiatives, some of which have been industry-specific, including the palm oil and cocoa industries, others addressing companies on emerging markets. Focus areas highlighted during the year have featured human rights, corruption and climate issues.
“During the first nine years of the Council on Ethics’ operation, approaches, principles and work processes have been developed that have subsequently become role models in the industry. When we started in 2007, the Council on Ethics engaged primarily in reactive dialogue with portfolio companies. Today, the Council has developed to primarily focus on proactive dialogues and various industry initiatives,” says Ulrika Danielson.
For further details, contact:
Ulrika Danielson, Chair of the Council on Ethics 2016, Phone: +46 (0)31-704 29 29
John Howchin, Secretary-General, Council on Ethics, Phone: +46 (0)8-555 171 76
The AP Funds’ Council on Ethics
The AP Funds’ Council on Ethics is a collaboration between the First, Second, Third and Fourth AP Funds, which are tasked by the Swedish Parliament with creating high returns at low risk for Sweden’s current and future pensioners. The Council on Ethics is dedicated to contributing to the AP Funds’ long-term returns by encouraging companies to adopt responsible business praxis with regard to environmental and social issues.