New Zealand Superannuation fund excludes six companies over nuclear base operations

But four excluded over cluster munitions are cleared for investment

The NZ$22bn (€13.1bn) New Zealand Superannuation Fund has excluded a group six of listed companies for operating nuclear bases.

The companies affected are Fluor Corp., Jacobs Engineering, Serco Group, URS Corp., Babcock & Wilcox and Huntington Ingalls. Privately held Bechtel Group will also be excluded from the fund’s investment universe, though it is not currently part of its portfolio.

In total, the fund has exited NZ$2.2m of holdings in the companies, and said the exclusions wouldn’t have any “material financial impact”.

Another publicly listed nuclear base operator, Lockheed Martin, was already excluded.

The move follows the fund’s exclusion of mining outfit Barrick Gold Corporation and its subsidiary African Barrick Gold on responsible investment grounds last month. The fund also recently tapped Leadenhall Capital Partners for a US$275m natural catastrophe reinsurance mandate.

The fund said nuclear warhead modification, retrofit and maintenance at nuclear bases have increased as part of moves to extend the life of stockpiles in the US and UK.The fund’s Responsible Investment Manager Anne-Maree O’Connor said this warranted exclusion under the fund’s responsible investment policy.

The fund also confirmed that four companies that it had previously excluded – General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, Raytheon and Goodrich Corp – had been cleared to re-enter its portfolio following confirmation that they were no longer involved in cluster munitions. The fund made its first exclusions over cluster munitions and nuclear testing in 2008.

The latest move comes as it’s emerged that US giants Wal-Mart, Yahoo and Chevron are among the companies most frequently excluded by major European investors seeking to invest responsibly and avoid reputational damage, according to French ESG firm Novethic.

It sampled 19 northern European institutions, representing €1.5tn of assets and found 14 had excluded Wal-Mart, partly over supply chain issues.

Yahoo is affected by freedom of expression in China, while Chevron has been omitted over its Amazon pollution issues.