(Bloomberg) -- Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund revoked its more than decade-long exclusion on Walmart Inc. after the U.S. retailer tightened control over potential human rights abuses in its supply chain.
Walmart has made “positive developments” in monitoring its suppliers, the fund’s Council on Ethics said in a statement released Tuesday.
“Furthermore, the company engages actively in selected, high-risk areas in order to help bring about improvements in working conditions,” the council said in a letter. “There seem to be fewer reports of poor working conditions in Walmart’s supply chain now than there were before.”
The fund also decided to revoke exclusions to Grupo Carso SAB de CV, General Dynamics Corp., Nutrien Ltd., Rio Tinto Ltd. and Rio Tinto Plc, as well as Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB de CV, according to a statement.
General Dynamics was let in from the cold after discontinuing the production of cluster munitions while Grupo Carso is no longer involved in tobacco, according to the fund. The exclusion of Nutrien was revoked after it ceased purchases from Western Sahara and Rio Tinto was taken off the list after it agreed to sell its Grasberg mine in Indonesia, reducing the risk of “severe environmental damage.”
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, takes into account ethical rules encompassing human rights, some weapons production, corruption, the environment, coal and tobacco when deciding on its investments.
Runar Malkenes, a spokesman at Norway’s central bank, said the recommendations to revoke the exclusions were made over time, but the bank found it “appropriate” to publish all seven decisions at the same time. It’s part of the council’s mandate to regularly reassess exclusions, he said in an email.
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