Twice a year, we screen our portfolio for companies that violate Swiss laws and international conventions. If we discover serious, systematic violations, the first step is to seek dialogue with a view to improving the company’s conduct. That is what happened in 2020 with the Chinese company OFILM. OFILM’s activities include manufacturing smartphone components, and it was linked to forced labour involving the Muslim Uighur minority in China.
In response, SVVK-ASIR’s engagement partner contacted OFILM a number of times by e-mail and telephone, sadly with little success. Numerous e-mails went unanswered, while the telephone conversations were unsatisfactory. In the meantime, a well-known Western tech firm had terminated its contract with OFILM, citing concerns about forced labour. Even a letter to the management and a joint letter from investors failed to establish a dialogue. Where dialogue is impossible, there is no way of improving a company’s conduct. In 2021, SVVK-ASIR 2021 therefore recommended excluding OFILM, and PUBLICA accordingly did so.