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Norwegian pension fund drops Wal-Mart on ethical grounds

A Norwegian government-controlled pension fund - known as the oil fund - worth some $240 billion has announced that it is selling its shares in retail giant Wal-Mart over perceived human and labor rights abuses.

The Norwegian government issued a statement saying that the oil fund sold its investments in Wal-Mart at the end of last month. The Norwegians believe that Wal-Mart’s restrictions on union membership and alleged breach of workers’ rights are in conflict with the fund’s ethical criteria.

The Norwegian finance ministry’s statement said that it had uncovered cases where Wal-Mart employees were unreasonably punished and locked in.

The oil fund also boycotts a number of other firms engaged in, for example, the defense and aerospace sectors, including the UK group BAE Systems.