GLOBAL – Swedwatch, a charitable organisation focusing on improving the social and environmental impact of Swedish companies operating in developing countries, has criticised AP2 for its investments in Brazilian farmland.
In a report entitled 'Investment without transparency', Swedwatch claims AP2 has refused to disclose the location of farmland it owns there due to competition concerns and a desire to increase its investment while the land is still cheap.
The report claims there are no regular checks on conditions at these farms, and that pesticides and poor working conditions pose a number of risks for workers and the environment.
It also accuses two of AP2's business partners of violating indigenous people's rights and labour laws.
AP2 said it had taken Swedwatch's observations on board and was working to increase transparency within its farmland investments in Brazil.
It made its investments through the TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture fund. The scheme said it had already disclosed the four areas in which the fund invested, and provided information on the tenant farmers connected to the areas in question.
AP2 is also planning a trip for a number of NGOs to the farmlands.
The pension fund said it worked with other institutional investors to create responsible investment principles for farmland investing and implemented these in 2011.
These principles include reducing environmental impact and promoting good labour practices, human rights, land rights and business ethics.