Our position on cluster munitions

06 Sep 2011

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. However, we should emphasise that from time to time we will 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 and prohibits capital held on Aviva’s own account from being invested in securities associated with that company (in this case, this applies to both equities and debt issues by the companies).

We carry out an annual review of companies involved in cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines with the help of Ethix. At the time of writing, there are 12 companies on our stop list due to their involvement in cluster munitions or anti-personnel mines. These are:

Company

  • Hanwha Corporation
  • Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd
  • Alliant Techsystems Inc
  • Aryt Industries Ltd
  • Doosan Corporation
  • GenCorp Inc
  • General Dynamics Corporation
  • L-3 Communications Corporation
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Poongsan Corporation
  • Textron Inc
  • Poongsan Holdings Corporation


Scope of the exclusion

Aviva will not invest in these companies on its own account, specifically its beneficially held shareholder funds. However, we should emphasise that, unless explicitly stated in Investment Management Agreements, we may hold these companies on behalf of clients and will therefore appear on company shareholder registers from time to time as nominees for shares held on behalf of clients who may not share this position. This may include policyholder funds.

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 are interested in investment funds which exclude cluster munitions, Aviva Investors offer a range of funds in their Sustainable Future fund range.

If you have any questions regarding this policy and what it means for your investment, please contact – your client relationship manager or corporateresponsibility@avivainvestors.com.