Friday, 9 November 2007

Liverpool Council Disinvests from BAE

Liverpool takes the lead in curbing arms trade investment
Oct 30 2007 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post

AUTHORITIES across Merseyside are being encouraged to follow Liverpool’s lead in calling for the area’s largest pension fund to stop investing in arms companies.

Liverpool Council leader Warren Bradley is to write to the leaders of Wirral, Sefton, St Helens, and Knowsley for support in stopping the Merseyside Superannuation Fund from investing in the arms trade.

It comes after Liverpool Council passed a resolution which stated that “investment in the arms trade is not compatible with good corporate, social and ethical governance”

It comes after the Daily Post revealed in the summer that the fund currently has £13.6m linked to investments with firms that are involved in aspects of armaments trade, including BAE, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

The pension fund, administered by Wirral Council on behalf of all local authorities, manages an investment pot worth around £4bn.

Merseyside Stop the War Coalition, Mark Holt, who campaigned for the Council to adopt this policy, said: “People in Liverpool were appalled to discover that the Merseyside Pension Fund invests in arms companies such as BAE, Rolls-Royce and Boeing.

“Now Liverpool has given a lead to every other council in the country. Now we can hold our head up as next year’s Capital of Culture. We’ve shown that we’re also the Capital of Conscience.”

Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman, Symon Hill, said: “We’re delighted that they have taken such a major step.

“It’s vital that other councils in Merseyside back this proposal and pull Merseyside Pension Fund out of arms companies.

A spokesman for Merseyside Pension Fund, said: “As a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the Fund seeks to incorporate environmental, social and governance criteria in its investment processes and actively engages with investee companies.

“Consequently, it does not have a formal policy of excluding companies on ethical grounds.

“In the light of the motion, we will be discussing the issues with the Pensions Committee, whose ultimate decision it will be whether the Pension Fund adopts an ethical direction.”


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is just a blueprint, a draft, subject to be developed and refined of what I want to propose the EU.

I would like to proposse to work on preparing the necessary documentation in order to present a formal request to pass labor legislation about Socially Responsible Entreprises (SRE). Under this new labor legislation, investors and entrepreneurs who should register their new companies under the SRE tag, will have full tax-on-earnings exemption during the first year and 50% reduction from there on. Social security costs of each worker will also be reduced in comparison to standard companies. Also, the goverment will open a credit line to grant low interest credits to SREs initial investments.

In order for a Company to be able to register as SRE in the EU, the legislation will require:

1) The salary difference between the lowest salary (blue collars) and the highest salary (directors) will not exceed 5,5 times. Wage dispersion within the company should also be capped.

2) minimum of 2% of the production purchases to be aquired in undeveloped countries or areas in EU with poverty and/or unemployment problems.

3) Reinvesting 1% of profits in social development projects in Africa or elsewhere

4) Selling 0,5% of products at cost price in depressed areas, wheter in the EU or abroad

5) Active environmental commitment (1% of revenues invested in environmental projects)

etc, with similar measures to promote market conditions for a socially responsable society and to foster a more cohesive salary structure within the labor market.

The idea is that after a given time, society will have say 3% or 4% of its economy run by SREs, but it is going to have a broader social across the market influence, building a more united and decent society.
The SRE requirements should be measured so as to make them not too tight to disencourage entrepreneurs or investors. The overall balance between pros and cons has to be slightly positive for investors, so the system naturally promotes the creation of SREs.

Also, I think people will tend to buy products with the SRE tag and in the long run, if your company isn't SRE compliant, your products will not be so accepted in the market, forcing you either to reconvert your company into a SRE or to reduce your product acceptance. It will help creating social justice awareness in society.
The idea is to create a better society by establishing the economic and market conditions that will naturally foster this, by merging and integrating the legitimate profit interests of private companies with social fairness promotion policies. And the tool to do this is SREs.
From my point of view is the best way to create social and environment conciousness by using daily economic activities.

I would suggest the Administration launches an initial pilot project: 40 new SREs across several industries and sectors, with an average individual start up investment of 35 M Euros, and monitor the evolution over a two year period. If feedback is positive, the Administration would then launch a larger SRE promotion plan.

Increasing cohesiveness in the labor market salary structure will promote price estability and low inflation. SREs will increasing employee satisfaction and reduce workplace related psychological problems.

Best Regards,

Leopoldo Ridruejo Miranda