An Australian superannuation and investment fund is leading an international effort to pressure a Norwegian machinery maker to leave the tobacco industry.
In what amounts to a new front in the war against tobacco, Australian Ethical will put forward a resolution on Monday at the annual general meeting of Norwegian company TOMRA, demanding it stop selling tobacco sorting machines.
Australian Ethical, which manages more than $600 million on behalf of about 18,000 investors, has long invested in TOMRA, which makes machinery used in recycling.
Last year, when TOMRA bought Best Sorting, a Belgian company that makes tobacco sorting machines, Australian Ethical wrote to TOMRA, asking it to get out of the area. When it refused, Australian Ethical approached other investors in the company for support.
The resolution calls on the company to stop selling tobacco sorting machines to the tobacco industry within six months. If the resolution received majority support, it would be binding on the company. If it fails, Australian Ethical will sell its stake in TOMRA.
In February the Future Fund announced it would sell its tobacco investments - valued then at about $222 million – citing the damaging health effects and addictive properties of tobacco.