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The Annual Report of the Ethical Council 2010 – Sweden’s AP funds make a difference through dedicated ownership

The joint Ethical Council of Sweden’s First, Second, Third and Fourth AP funds (AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4) has published its annual report for 2010. The report describes how the four AP funds make a difference by using their influence as owners to take action against infringement of international conventions and demand changes.

The report gives an account of the past year’s developments in the Ethical Council’s ongoing dialogues with portfolio companies that can be associated with violations of the ethical guidelines governing the four AP funds’ investments. Significant advances have been made in several of the dialogues that the Ethical Council conducted throughout the year. One company, Vedanta Resources, has been removed from the dialogue list and dialogues have been started with three new companies, Alstom, Veolia and Motorola Solutions.

The progress made in these dialogues has strengthened the AP funds’ belief in the importance of taking their responsibility as owners and acting according to the principles of commitment, action and change in order to make a difference. The principles and basis for the Ethical Council’s commitment have been defined in the funds’ core values, which were further developed during the year.

The Ethical Council’s resources and network were strengthened during 2010 and John Howchin was appointed as Secretary General. This reinforcement will enable the Ethical Council to work more proactively by leading and participating in investor initiatives aimed a influencing companies to increase their transparency, act more responsibly and address important issues in the ethical and environmental area.

– The progress we see in the companies with which we are engaged in dialogue has reaffirmed our conviction that the Ethical Council’s guiding principles to act on the basis of commitment, action and change in order to make a difference is the right approach for us as a responsible, long-term investors,” says Nadine Viel Lamare, Chairwoman of the Ethical Council.

– It can sometimes take time to gain a hearing for our views, but experience shows that we do more good as owners by making demands on the companies than by selling our holdings. A sale generally doesn’t solve the problem in the company and we therefore do our utmost to urge the companies to make a change. The sale of a holding can be a last resort when no other means of influence is effective,” she adds.

Read more about the Ethical Council’s company dialogues and other activities in the annual report for 2010, which can be downloaded here >>.

For further information, please contact:
Nadine Viel Lamare, Chairwoman of the Ethical Council in 2011
Telephone: +46 8-566 20 270
E-mail: info@ethicalcouncil.com