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Investor pressure urges Sodexo to address inhumane conditions at detainee centre in the UK

Through a constructive dialogue, the Ethical Council of the Swedish AP-Funds has encouraged Sodexo, a world-leading service company with 330,000 employees in 80 countries, to address inhumane conditions at a detainee centre in the UK . The Ethical Council’s active ownership also resulted in Sodexo’s adoption of a company-wide human rights policy in October 2008 .

In May 2007 the Ethical Council called attention to systematic human rights abuses at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Center in London, which is managed by Sodexo’s subsidiary Kalyx.

”Sodexo has shown a serious commitment to correcting these problems and our discussions with them have been constructive. In a short span of time, the company has both addressed conditions at the detainee centre and adopted a human rights policy that is now being implemented throughout the organization. This is proof that it is fully possible for us as shareholders to influence the companies we invest in to respect the conventions signed by the Swedish Government. It also underlines the soundness of the Ethical Council’s decision to intensify the dialogue by visiting the companies for face-to-face discussions”, says Carl Rosén, Chairman of the Ethical Council.

Carl Rosén, 2008 Chairman of the Ethical Council
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About the Ethical Council
The First to Fourth AP Funds (AP1-AP4) are buffer funds in the Swedish national pension system. The four competing funds have a common mission: to invest Sweden’s pension capital so as to achieve the greatest possible benefit for the pension system and generate high long-term returns with a low level of risk. In doing so, the Funds must take ethical and environmental consideration without compromising the overall objective of attaining a high return.

 At the beginning of 2007 the Ethical Council was formed to coordinate SRI analysis of environmental and ethical compliance in the foreign companies where the funds have holdings. The purpose of the Ethical Council is to combine the four funds’ resources and votes for greater leverage in influencing the foreign companies in which they invest to conduct their operations without violating the international conventions signed by the Swedish government.