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Ethical financiers withdraw funds from beach scrappers

来源:    编辑:编辑部    发布:2018/05/17 14:52:18

ETHICAL investors are pressuring shipowners to stop providing employment to Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani slavors on dead ship beaches of the subcontinent because of poor working conditions.

Norway's US$1 trillion Oil Fund, leading the pack of ethical investors, has punished four firms because they scrap on these beaches, by withdrawing investments.

Among the defunded firms are Taiwan's Evergreen MarineKorea LinePrecious Shipping and Thoresen Thai Agencies(TTA).

But government officials and shipowners say conditions have improved significantly in recent years.

Norwegian life insurer KLP soon followed, selling shares in the one of the four it owned and blacklisting the other three, Reuters reported.

Further exclusions are likely, said KLP, the fund and its advisory Council on Ethics. The council's chief adviser, Aslak Skancke, said the divestments had already effected wider change, including encouraging companies to seek cleaner scrapping.

Three leading pensions funds - Caisse de Depot, CCP and OMERS - are reviewing their investments in shipping over ethical and green considerations, a finance source familiar with the matter said. OMERS declined to comment. Caisse de Depot and CCP did not respond to requests for comment.

More than 80 per cent of freighters are broken up on the beaches of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Industry leaders in South Asia say they cannot afford to upgrade their sites and remain competitive.

Workers cut up ships with blowtorches, with parts and pollutants dropping directly onto the sand. Some sites have cranes, impermeable surfaces and safety standards for workers and equipment.

"If there was to be a blanket ban on 'beaching' there would be a very, very serious capacity problem because there is nowhere else big enough to deal with it at the moment," said John Stawpert, manager for environment and trade at the International Chamber of Shipping, which represents most of the world's merchant fleet.

Commerzbank has said it will exit shipping financing and invest its capital elsewhere; others, such as Deutsche Bank, say they aim to cut their exposure to the sector.

Leading Dutch shipping finance houses ABN AMRO and ING, Sweden's Nordea, Norway's DNB and Denmark's Danske Bank, as well as the Netherlands' NIBC, say they are taking a hard look at their borrowers' policies.

The EU's decision to draw up a list of approved ship breaking yards in December 2016 was the first regulatory step with real teeth; the Hong Kong Convention on recycling drawn up in 2009 does not take a position on beaching and has only a handful of signatories so far.

The yards - centred in Pakistan (mainly Gadani), India (Alang) and Bangladesh (Chittagong) - employ tens of thousands of people.