On 7 May 2018, the Council on Ethics recommended to place the company Nien Hsing Textile Co Ltd under observation due to an unacceptable risk of the company being responsible for systematic human rights violations.
Nien Hsing owns garment manufacturing facilities in a number of countries, including Lesotho and Vietnam. The recommendation is based on investigations into working conditions which uncovered serious norm violation at the company’s factories in Lesotho, including widespread sexual harassment of female employees by managers and supervisors. The Council’s investigations also indicate numerous occupational health and safety issues, that the company seems to restrict freedom of association. The Council’s decision not to recommend that the company be excluded from investment by the GPFG at this time rests on the fact that Nien Hsing is currently implementing changes and measures which could improve working conditions, even though their implementation so far has been weak. The Council will monitor developments at the company and if the most serious norm violations are not materially curtailed within a short space of time, the Council will consider recommending Nien Hsing’s exclusion.
On 10 July 2018, Norges Bank published its decision to follow the Council on Ethics’ recommendation.