Portland Is First U.S. City To Divest Funds From Walmart

Portland, OR City Commissioner, Steve Novak

Photo: Steve Novak Facebook page

The City of Portland reached a milestone as the first of five holdings in city-owned Walmart bonds will mature, reducing the City’s direct investment in the company by 25 percent, or $9 million. This is the first time a Wal-Mart investment will mature—and thus leave the portfolio—since the Portland City Council adopted socially responsible investment principles in October 2013.

Introduced by Commissioner Novick, the City Council’s resolution prohibits the City Treasurer from making any new Walmart purchases. This means that as the existing bonds held by the City mature, its investment in Walmart will discontinue. The last of the City’s Walmart bonds will mature in April 2016, at which point the City will have eliminated a total of $36 million invested in the company as of October 2013….

In addition to prohibiting the purchase of additional Walmart bonds, the City Council’s resolution created a temporary committee charged with advising Council about how to implement its socially responsible investment principles. The committee will report back to Council later this year. The principles adopted by Council include health and environmental concerns, abusive labor practices, and corrupt corporate ethic and governance, among others.

‘From what I can tell, no other U.S. city has looked at socially responsible investing in quite the same way as Portland,’ said Commissioner Novick.

He added, ‘I’m hopeful other cities and states take note and adopt similar investment principles to hold companies accountable and align our investment policies with our values.’


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