Stockholm (NordSIP) – In its 2021 annual report, the Council on Ethics overseeing the Swedish AP Funds presented a more open account of the impact dialogues and which sub-goals have been achieved. Among other topics, it describes eight preventive projects aiming to improve sustainability in difficult and vulnerable industries and 85 reactive company dialogues to remedy and prevent serious incidents.
According to Peter Lundkvist, Chairman of the AP Funds’ Ethics Council in 2021, it is important for the Ethics Council to be able to present even more transparent reporting on our dialogue work with companies and industries. The Council on Ethics’ work is long-term and advocacy work in sustainability can be difficult to quantify, Lundkvist argues, noting however that thanks to intensive internal work, the Council have further developed our reporting on the work that the Council on Ethics conducts to improve sustainability work in companies.
The eight preventive projects discussed in the report were run for a few years. It includes the case of mining companies where the Council on Ethics has for three years played a leading role in creating a global and open database following the 2019 disaster at one of Vale’s mining operation in Brumadinho, Brazil. The report discussed the role of the AP funds in the development of the first global standard for mine waste and the associated institute responsible for ensuring that the global standard is respected. The Ethics Council also highlights its work with tech giants (including Facebook and Google) on human rights as well as other work focused on fighting against corruption and climate change.
On the creative front, the Council on Ethics’ discusses its efforts to influence companies to handle and remedy accidents and incidents. Approximately 3,200 holdings in the AP funds’ portfolios were reviewed. 3,056 companies passed the screening without remark.
At the end of 2021, the Council on Ethics conducted dialogues with 85 companies that were identified in the screenings with “confirmed violation” of an international convention or where there is a “risk of violation”. Of these, over half were about suspected human rights violations (60%), a third were concerned business ethics (27%) and the other dialogues were about the environment (13%).