The Norwegian Government Pension Fund: The Divestiture of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The Program for Financial Studies
The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics Case Series
In 2006, Norway's Ministry of Finance announced it would exclude Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from its government pension fund, citing the company's "serious/systematic violations of human rights and labor rights." Norway's fund, one of the largest sovereign pension funds, owned more than 6 million Wal-Mart shares at the time, as well as 8 million shares of Wal-Mart de Mexico, all of which it divested. This case teaches students about the complex issues raised by socially responsible investing, such as the merits of taking an activist approach, the responsibility of corporations for actions of its suppliers, and the difficulties of obtaining cost-efficient information.
Case id: 080301
Supplemental Material: Teaching Note