The Council on Ethics recommends that Supermax Corp Bhd be excluded from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) due to an unacceptable risk that the company is contributing to human rights abuses. The recommendation concerns the living and working conditions experienced by migrant workers at the company’s production facilities in Malaysia.
Supermax is a Malaysian manufacturer of rubber gloves with several factories in Malaysia. Since 2019, news reports have been published about the poor living and working conditions experienced by the company’s employees. Allegations include the payment of high recruitment fees, long working hours, an elaborate system of punishments and fines, and restrictions on workers’ freedom of movement.
The company has denied that any abuse has taken place, and claimed that living and working conditions are good, and has asserted that the workers’ testimonies are incorrect or exaggerated. Yet, following harsh criticism, the company has stated that it will implement a number of measures to improve living and working conditions, and ensure that its workers do not pay recruitment fees.
The Council takes a positive view of the measures the company has announced. However, the Council has not been able to assess the implementation of these measures, and it remains unclear whether the measures will reduce the risk of human rights abuse in the longer term. On this basis, the Council has concluded that the risk of future violations is unacceptably high.
The Council on Ethics issued its recommendation on exclusion on 24 February 2022. Norge Bank announced its decision to place the company under observation on 15 June 2022.