The United Nations is facing calls for a full review of its staff pension fund after the Guardian uncovered that it has around a billion dollars invested in companies whose activities are or have been incompatible with core UN principles and programmes.
Established in 1948 by the UN general assembly, the fund provides retirement, death and disability benefits to employees. At present it has 203,050 beneficiaries and a market value of $64bn (£45bn), of which nearly $1.5bn is invested in 24 publicly traded companies. Many of those companies have been or are being prosecuted for corrupt practices, implicated in human rights abuses or in environmental catastrophes.
“These investments clearly undermine the credibility of a well-respected organisation,” said Thomas Küchenmeister, managing director of Facing Finance. “How can I promote sustainable development and the protection of human rights and simultaneously benefit from violations of these?”