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Survival welcomes the news that the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is selling its shares in Vedanta Resources due to concerns over the company’s human rights record. Two other shareholders, the Marlborough Ethical Fund and Millfield House Foundation, have also sold their shares.
Survival is campaigning for all shareholders to pull out of the company, and has been lobbying the Rowntree Trust since July 2009.
The news is just the latest in a string of PR disasters for Vedanta. Last week Amnesty International released a report slamming the company for ‘failing to respect the human rights’ of the Dongria Kondh tribe of Orissa, India, on whose sacred mountain it plans to build a bauxite mine. The previous week the Church of England also sold its shares, saying, ’We are not satisfied that Vedanta has shown, or is likely in future to show, the level of respect for human rights and local communities that we expect…’
The British and Norwegian governments have both condemned the project, and Martin Currie Investments has also disinvested following pressure from Survival. The BP Pension Fund has reduced its shareholding over similar concerns.
Stephen Corry, Survival’s director, said today, ‘It is really encouraging to see shareholders taking Indigenous rights seriously and refusing to bankroll Vedanta’s activities. They have found that ‘engagement’ with the company is fruitless: Vedanta is clearly determined to mine the Dongria Kondh’s sacred mountain. Vedanta is fast becoming the most controversial mining company in the world – controversy that ethical investors would be well advised to distance themselves from.’