Norwatch: Norwegian investor blacklists fertilizer company
The Norwegian investor KLP has today announced that they have kicked out the Australian firm Incitec Pivot from its funds. The company imports phosphate rock from Western Sahara, which is occupied by Morocco. Norwatch, 2 June 2009.
Photo: From the phosphate harbour in occupied Western Sahara, the minerals are shipped to fertilizer firms in Australia.
By Erik Hagen Norwatch 2 June 2009
For the second time, KLP has thrown an Australian fertilizer firm out of its portfolios due to Western Sahara trade. The Western Sahara liberation movement Front Polisario congratulates KLP with its decision.
“KLP has made a right decision. It shows that their ethical and legal analysis of the phosphate industry in Western Sahara is done very thoroughly. We hope other investors will follow KLP’s example", Brahim Mokhtar, Polisario’s representative to the Nordic countries, told Norwatch.
Such trade is in violation of international law, since Morocco has no legal claims to Western Sahara, and henceforth, not to Western Sahara’s natural resources.
“Extraction of natural resources from occupied territories, particularly from Western Sahara, has been considered illegal by the UN’s under-secretary general for legal affairs in 2002”, Jeanett Bergan, head of Responsible Investments in KLP Kapitalforvaltning, wrote in a press release today.
Norwatch has previously written about Incitec Pivot’s phosphate imports from Western Sahara, which were carried out by the Oslo Stock Exchange registered shipping company Jinhui. When the Chinese-Norwegian shipping company was made aware of its transports, Jinhui decided to terminate further transports from Western Sahara. But Incitec maintained its imports through other shipping companies.
Also Incitec’s competitor Wesfarmers is from earlier blacklisted by KLP due to similar imports. Both Wesfarmers and Incitec Pivot have imported from Western Sahara during a number of years.
Even the Norwegian fertilizer giant Yara ended up being investigated by KLP in 2008, after Norwatch revealed that they too had imported from the same territory. KLP chose, however, not to exclude Yara from its funds, but placed the firm under a critical observation list. To the contrary of the Australian firms, which have long term delivery contracts for Western Sahara phosphates, Yara has assured that the imports in 2008 was a one time incident.
KLP manages over 200 billion kroners (approx. 23 billion euros) on behalf of more than 500.000 Norwegians.
Burma company out In addition to Incitect Pivot, also the Chinese firm DongFeng has been excluded from KLP today. DongFeng was excluded by the Norwegian Government’s pension fund in March, after military deliveries to the regime in Burma.
Seven companies have now also been re-included in the KLP investment universe, after ethical improvement: Exxon Mobil, Grupo Ferrovial, Marathon Oil, Monsanto, Richemont, Thales og PetroChina.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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