Monday I was speaking to a client who brought up some concerns about investments in Sudan/Darfur. Mia Farrow had come to her workplace and given a talk about how Fidelity has investments in Darfur, and she was happy because I had had her sell all her Fidelity funds when she moved her assets into my care.
Because I use individual stocks, however, she wanted to be reassured that she didn’t own any companies which do business there. Since I don’t invest in oil companies as a general rule, and most of the companies doing business there are involved in oil, I knew she wasn’t overly exposed to the country, but I wanted to check for some of the large conglomerates I inculded in her portfolio as part of my blue chip alternative energy strategy.
It turns out Amherst College has published it’s list of companies they won’t invest in because of investments in Sudan, and I thought this list would be useful to those of my readers who manage their own portfolios using individual stocks.
Here’s the current list:
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited
China National Petroleum Corp. (PetroChina and CNPC Hong Kong Ltd)
China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec and Sinopec Shanghai)
Dong Feng Automotive Company Ltd.
Harbin Power Equipment Co. Ltd
Lundin International SA
Muhibbah Petrochemical Engineering Sdn Bhd
Nam Fatt Co. Bhd
Oil & Natural Gas Co. Ltd. (ONGC)
PETRONAS and subsidiaries: PETRONAS Dagangan BHD, PETRONAS Gas BHD and MISC Berhad
Sumatec Resources (IR OilRigs International Ltd)
Videocon Industries Ltd.
Weir Group PLC (Weir Pumps Ltd.)
The original list included two companies I like because of their electricity transmission businesses, so I was happy to see that both Siemens and ABB SA had pulled out of the country, which gives me one more reason to like them both.
I just received an email from Max Croes at Sudan Divestment Task Force. They have their own, more in depth list developed in conjunction with Calvert. You can get an updated list from them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and much more useful infromation is on their web site.
They use more nuanced critera:
1. Has a business relationship with the government, a government-created project, or companies affiliated with a government-created project; AND
2. Provides little benefit to the disadvantaged populations of Sudan; AND
3. Has not developed a substantial business-practice policy that acknowledges and deals with the fact that the company may be inadvertently contributing to the Sudanese government’s genocidal capacity.
And now we hear that The New York Times, CNN, Newsweek, Business Week and the Boston Globe all turned down anti-Fidelity ads sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition.
My thought: Fidelity is a BIG advertiser.