“Western Sahara is a disputed territory where human rights abuses have been reported,” said Tim Macready, Chief Investment Officer for Christian Super. “Companies doing business in this area may unwittingly aggravate the conflict or become complicit to oppression.”
After Christian Super and other interested parties met with Wesfarmers in 2009, Wesfarmers made the decision to invest in a technology and plant upgrade to reduce itsreliance on phosphorous rock imported from Western Sahara.
In a recent follow-up meeting, Wesfarmers confirmed the completion of the upgrade with the decision to no longer use phosphate from the disputed territory, for at least the next production cycle. This was achieved after investigation into manufacturing solutions to tackle odour issues associated with processing certain types of phosphate rock. The upgrade has enabled Wesfarmers to process previously unsuitable phosphate rock and diversify supply lines, while being in the commercial interests of the business.
“Christian Super congratulates Wesfarmers for its willingness to listen and act upon concerns raised by its stakeholders”, said Christian Super CEO, Peter Murphy. “This course of action is encouraging for the whole ethical investment industry, as it demonstrates that a respectful dialogue with companies can lead to a change of behaviour, which in turn helps companies and its investors mitigate risks,” he said.
Christian Super is an industry superannuation fund with a strong commitment to investing in accordance with the values held by its members and to maximising its financial performance by encouraging companies to address Environmental, Social and Governance risks. Christian Super was awarded for the second time ‘Sustainable Super Fund of the Year’ in December 2011.
For more information visit www.christiansuper.com.au