Skip to main content

Citing "serious and systematic" abuse of human and labor rights, Norway's Finance Ministry today banned Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and employer, from the $250 bn Norwegian Government Pension Fund - Global.

HalvorsenThis investment fund, where much of Norway's soaring petroleum revenue is stashed away for future generations, is one of the largest in the world. In addition to a policy of ethical corporate governance, its investments are subject to ethical guidelines issued by Parliament and applied by the Finance Ministry based on advice from an independent Ethics Council. For instance, companies can be blacklisted for environmental offenses or involvement in the production or maintenance of landmines or nuclear weapons. In Wal-Mart's case, the Ethics Council found "an extensive body of material" suggesting it had been employing minors against international rules, condoned dangerous working conditions among its suppliers and suppressed unions. Norway's Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen (picture) of the Socialist Left Party explained:

We are talking about systematic gender discrimination and the denial of rights to enter into unions. Among the suppliers there are child labor and compulsory unpaid overtime as well as dramatic measures such as unreasonable punishment and lock-in of the workers. There are violations of human rights, labor rights and the UN Convention against Child Labor.

When given a chance to answer these charges, Wal-Mart responded with silence, she added.

Where Wal-Mart does choose to be vocal is in its support of the GOP. It is known for its major campaign contributions, 85 percent of which have gone to Republicans. During the 2004 campaign cycle, wherein Wal-Mart was the #2 donor, Dick Cheney lavished glowing praise upon the corporation:

This is one of our nation's great companies.... The story of Wal-Mart exemplifies some of the very best qualities in our country -- hard work, the spirit of enterprise, fair dealing, and integrity.... [it is] a tremendous operation, an economic powerhouse, and a real credit to the United States of America.... The managers and associates at this great company are helping to drive our economy forward. You're making a vital contribution to the most prosperous economy in the world. It's an honor to stand with the workers of this outstanding company.

For once, there is no reason to doubt his sincerity.

Originally posted to Sirocco on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 08:56 AM PDT.


Who got it right?

98%62 votes
1%1 votes

| 63 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Click here for the mobile view of the site