Many financial institutions invest in a handful of foreign oil companies, such as PetroChina, that help fund the government of Sudan’s deadly campaign of violence against millions of its citizens.  Vanguard holds over a billion dollars in PetroChina and the other oil companies supporting the regime in Sudan.

Genocide-free investing is on the proxy ballot for 48 Vanguard funds voting on November 15, 2017. (See the list of funds here and the proxy statement here.) The previous Vanguard shareholder meeting was in 2009.

In July 2009, despite Vanguard’s active opposition, shareholders of 21 Vanguard funds voted in support of the proposal with votes ranging from 7% to 17% in favor of genocide-free investing.

Results at the Vanguard shareholder meeting were lower than those in 2008 and 2009 at Fidelity, which ranged from 17% to 31%.  Investors Against Genocide attributes the lower results to Vanguard’s  statement of opposition which contended that the genocide-free investing proposal called for procedures that “duplicate” existing practices and were “substantially identical” to existing procedures of the Vanguard funds.

However, Vanguard’s “substantially identical” policy has not resulted in the sale of any of the large oil companies with ties to genocide. Rather, Vanguard’s Plain Talk About Proxy Proposal 3 web page states that “the trustees have determined that no companies have warranted divestment.”

Since the shareholder vote, Vanguard has continued to hold and purchase additional shares of PetroChina and Sinopec, oil companies tied to the genocide in Sudan.

  • Has a genocide-free investing policy
  • Divested from PetroChina
  • Voted for GFI shareholder proposal

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In the News

Vanguard's shame

Marc Gunther
July 3rd, 2009

Death by Dollars

New York Times
February 11th, 2007