The city follows the lead of other pension funds have that vowed to pull their asset backing from companies whose business is thought to support the Sudanese government.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation last year that promised to divest all state funds in companies linked to Darfur (See Schwarzenegger Signs Sudan Divestment Bills), where so far more than 200,000 people have been killed and some 2.5 million people have fled their homes since 2003, according to the Associated Press.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) voted in May 2006 to bar investments in nine corporations (See CalPERS Votes to Bar Sudan-related Investments ), following California State Teachers’ Retirement System’ (CalSTRS) promise the month before to dump its $12 million holdings in five companies (See CalSTRS Approves Sudan Divestment ).
The Idaho legislature is now considering a measure that would force its public employee retirement system to divest $41 million, against the protest of fund officials, who argue that pulling the investments would be too complicated and have little of the expected impact on the conflict there (See Idaho Lawmakers Consider Forcing Pension Funds to Dump Sudan-linked Investments ).
Other states that have already passed mandates requiring divestment in Sudan-related investments include:
- In November 2006, North Carolina ‘s pension fund will sell its $24 million in holdings in nine companies (See Sudanese Investments Get Boot From Tar Heel Pension Fund ).
- The Maine state retirement system voted to divest its holdings in April 2006 (See Measure Requiring Sudan Divestment Passed in ME ).
- Illinois passed a law that bars it from conducting business with companies operating in Sudan in July 2005 (See Illinois Measure Bars Sudan Investments ). Two of Illinois’ five pension funds have been given 18 months to reinvest $1 billion placed with 32 companies with interests in Sudan.
- New Jersey Assembly passed legislation in January 2005 that bans state public pension funds from investing in Sudan-linked companies (See New Jersey Assembly Bans State Investment in Sudan ).