The Council on Ethics recommends that Li Ning Co Ltd (Li-Ning) be excluded from investment by the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global due to an unacceptable risk that the company is contributing to serious human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China.
Li-Ning is a Chinese company that manufactures and sells sports clothing and equipment. Information published on Chinese websites indicates that Li-Ning in 2017 signed a cooperation agreement with a supplier said to manufacture inside an internment camp. The supplier is also said to have taken on many workers via a government-sponsored employment programme targeting ethnic minorities. Li-Ning is furthermore linked to human rights violations through other suppliers.
The ongoing human rights abuses in Xinjiang have been widely reported. It is therefore well documented that producing in or purchasing certain products from this region, including textiles and cotton, are associated with a particular risk of becoming involved in forced labour.
The Council does not have information indicating that Li-Ning has investigated or addressed this risk, and the company has not answered the Council’s requests for information. The Council therefore concludes that the risk of the company contributing to serious human rights abuses is unacceptably high.
The Council on Ethics issued its recommendation on 30 September 2021. Norge Bank announced its decision to exclude the company from investment by the GPFG on 7 March 2022.