"Green" Swedish mutual funds found wanting

Newspaper criticises presence of "non-Green" companies in ethical investment portfolios

Sweden's "green" investment funds are nothing of the kind, according to a recent survey by the leading national newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

Reacting to a current advertising campaign promoting environment-friendly and ethical funds, DN concludes that they are in fact "barely distinguishable from ordinary index funds". Several, it says, include large shareholdings in companies which have been the subject of "severe criticism for inadequate concern for the environment".

One environmental expert told the paper: "If these funds were operating in the American market as they operate in Sweden, their directors would be in jail by now." A spokesman for the Swedish Mutual Fund Association conceded: "There is no exact definition of an 'environmental' fund."

Most of the ten "green" funds on the Swedish market include large holdings in Ericsson, Nokia, Skandia and Telia, "none of which are known as champions of the environment," writes DN. Astra Zeneca and Stora are also cited as companies that should have no place in a "green" portfolio.

Follow Up:
Dagens Nyheter, tel: +46 8 738 1000; Swedish Mutual Fund Association, tel: +46 8 783 8448.

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