Aviva's position on cluster munitions – an update.

Article date: 1 March 2013

Aviva has committed to respect and uphold fundamental principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption. As a sign of this commitment Aviva is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and support human rights principles as outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNUDHR) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) core labour standards.

Aviva fully supports the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In 2008 the Aviva board determined that the manufacture of cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines undermined fundamental human rights and as such decided that Aviva Group should not hold securities linked to companies involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions or anti-personnel mines on its own account, specifically in shareholder funds. We can confirm that we have no such holdings.

The Aviva board has now determined that this exclusion should also be applied to Aviva policyholder funds. We are currently working to implement this decision and will provide an update when this is complete. In the interim, we may continue to appear on shareholder registers.

It should be highlighted that the phrase ‘policyholder funds’ refers to the money that we invest which comes from the insurance policies that we write. It does not refer to the retail investment funds that we offer, which are operated according to their prospectuses and other fund related documents and are out of scope of this policy. Our Sustainable Future fund range is an exception to this, as it actively avoids cluster munitions. Institutional investors with segregated mandates that are concerned about this issue are encouraged to raise this with us.

We should emphasise that from time to time we may also appear on company shareholder registers as nominees for shares held on behalf of clients who may not share this position.

Companies we do not invest in
We employ an independent third party – Ethix - to identify companies involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions or anti-personnel mines. In 2010 we identified 11 companies of concern and wrote to all asking them to either reassure us that they were no longer involved in cluster munitions or anti-personnel mine manufacture or face being placed on our Stop List.  This investment exclusion extends to both the equity and debt issued by companies.

We carry out a quarterly review of companies involved in cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines. Additionally, companies identified by Ethix to be involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions or anti-personnel mines are added to the Stop List within 24 hours. At the time of writing, there are 20 companies on our Stop List due to their involvement in cluster munitions or anti-personnel mines. These are:

Company

  • Aeroteh Bucuresti
  • Alliant Techsystems
  • Aryt Industries Ltd
  • Avco Corp
  • China Aerospace Sci & Tech Corp
  • China North industries
  • Doosan Corporation
  • Rosoboronexport
  • General Dynamics Corporation
  • Hanwha Corp
  • Jugoimport SPDR
  • L-3 Communications Corporation
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Mechanical Engineering Research Institute
  • Motovilikhinskie Zavody
  • Ordtech Military Industries
  • Poongsan Corporation
  • Rostechnologii
  • Singapore Technologies
  • Textron Inc

Scope of the exclusion

For clarity, we have applied this exclusion to direct investments in the manufacturers of cluster munitions or anti-personnel mines only and may continue to invest in banks which may themselves invest in or offer services to these companies. Nor do we exclude investment in companies who through their pension schemes are invested in these companies.

Further information
If you have any questions regarding this policy and what it means for your investment, please contact cr.team@aviva.com

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