AP Pension divests from Vinci after it is linked to labour rights abuses on Qatar World Cup projects
Danish pension fund AP Pension has divested from a French construction company involved in building infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
This comes after a report from Fair Finance International (FFI) found that institutional investors hold US$178bn worth of shares and bonds in major construction or hospitality companies active in Qatar, or Qatari sovereign bonds, despite widespread exploitation of migrant workers and restricted or harmful working conditions during World Cup construction projects in the country.
AP Pension said in a statement that the decision to divest was made following its policy for responsible and sustainable investments, where it states that investments must be in accordance with conventions on human rights such as the UN’s Global Compact, the OECD guidelines for multinational companies, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
AP Pension had invested approximately DKK 14.3m (A$3m) in Bouygues and Vinci, both of which were mentioned in the FFI report.
In a statement, AP Pension said that a closer assessment of Vinci, which was included in one of the firm’s sustainable portfolios, revealed that its subsidiary Vinci Constructions Grands Projects has been charged with failing to comply with labour rights following allegations from NGOs and former Indian and Nepali workers.
The case is expected to be investigated by French authorities, but it is not yet certain whether it will go to court.
AP Pension could not find evidence that Bouygues has negatively impacted human rights, and will therefore stay invested.