Danish pension funds invest in US private prison companies accused of separating migrant families & "appalling conditions", investigation reveals

Author: Nikolaj Houmann Mortensen, Danwatch, Published on: 20 March 2020

Note: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has previously sought responses from CoreCivic (available here & here) and Geo Group (available here) in relation to the allegations raised against them.

"Danish pension funds behind America’s for-profit prisons", 18 Feb 2020

High-profile coverage on the separation of migrant families and appalling conditions for inmates and detainees have recently sparked debate about the private prison industry in the United States...

America’s largest pension fund and seven of the country’s largest banks have withdrawn investments from the industry’s two biggest players: CoreCivic and Geo Group.

However, American funds aren’t the only ones with a vested interest in the US prison industry. Several Danish pension funds have also invested significant sums, Danwatch discovered. Amongst them are PKA Pension, Lærernes Pension, and Velliv, funds which largely represent Danish nurses, social workers, and teachers...

Following Danwatch’s request, PKA announced that it will divest all of its shares in the two companies.

“We invest in accordance with the UN Global Compact’s principles of corporate social responsibility and sustainability which must, among other things, ensure that companies do not contribute to human rights violations” ...

“We do not believe that these companies live up to these principles, and that is why we have recommended that they be excluded from our investments at the earliest opportunity” ...

Velliv ... announced that pension fund advisors are currently in dialogue with CoreCivic and the Geo Group.

“This is a dialogue that we support and would like to continue. If the dialogue does not result in an improvement of the companies’ practices, we must assess whether the investments are right for us” ...

Lærernes Pension ... announced that CoreCivic is currently “in yellow light” and thus on the pension fund’s observation list.

“We are closely following developments. If there is further documentation – e.g. sentencing – of the company’s non-compliance with human rights, the company will be ‘red-lighted’ and we will then sell the shares” ...

Read the full post here

Related companies: CoreCivic GEO Group Lærernes Pension PKA Pension Velliv