Are ethics something that should be considered when it comes to investing? Or should investors and managers wear blinders when it comes to where they are putting their money? Many mutual fund managers are considering this question due to the recent happenings in Sudan, Africa.
The moral nature of mutual fund manager Citizens Advisers, which manages the Citizen Funds, has persuaded the firm to write letters to the chief executives at approximately 20 of the companies within its portfolio, urging them to avoid Sudan investments as a protest against the violence and genocide going on there right now, according to Reuters.
This is the first move by a mutual fund manager to urge this type of a divestment. However, U.S. organizations have started to sell out of companies that refuse to do so.
"We believe that encouraging companies to divest their business in Sudan has the potential to have the same tremendous positive impact as the South Africa divestiture campaign of the 1990s," said Joanne Dowdell, vice president of corporate responsibility at Boston-based Citizens. "This campaign has really started to get momentum, starting from the university level, expanding to state pension funds, and now moving to the investment community."
The Sudan Divestment Campaign headquarters are at Williams College in Massachusetts. Research shows that 81 public U.S. pension plans have approximately $91 million invested in companies with business activities in Sudan.
The University of California's board of regents places morals over money and that is why it voted to divest from any index funds that invest in companies that "aid the genocide in Sudan," the board said.
The campaign website urges states to follow in the ethical footsteps of New Jersey, Illinois, and Oregon and prohibit investing in companies with ties to Sudan.
Based on research by Assemblyman Williams Payne's staff (New Jersey) and the Genocide Intervention Fund, Hyundai, UBS, Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Gulf Petroleum Company, are just a few of the companies that do business with Sudan.
For more information regarding the Sudan Divestment Campaign, please visit: http://sudandivestment.com/.