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The New York Times reports that the city of Portland, Oregon, expressing concerns about Walmart's ethics and labor practices, "has begun divesting itself of all its holdings" in the giant retailer, making it the first municipality to do so. "When this policy was adopted, the city had five Walmart bonds totaling $36 million, which was 2.9 percent of its portfolio," the Times writes. "As of Thursday, its bonds total $27 million."

“We as a city talk a lot about our progressive values,” Commissioner Steve Novick tells the Times. “We care about working people, we care about the environment, we care about human health — and money talks. We don’t want our money to be saying things that are at cross purposes with values we profess every day."

According to the story, "On Thursday, the first of Portland’s Walmart bonds matured, reducing its holdings in the country’s largest retailer by 25 percent … In October, Portland’s City Council decided it would not buy more Walmart bonds after its existing holdings matured (state law prohibits the city from investing in stocks).

"The city is devising a process to evaluate other companies in its investment portfolio. So far, only Walmart has made the hands-off list."

Walmart said it would not comment on the city's investment policies, but did note that Walmart currently employs 550 people in Portland and plans to hire another 600 for new supercenters there. Walmart also claims that its full-time employees in Portland make an average wage of $13.20 per hour.
KC's View:
Listen, the best reason to divest Walmart stock is that it has been underperforming, and there are a fair number of folks who don't have a lot of confidence in its near-term prospects.

I have no problem with this approach. I think one's investments should reflect not just one's financial priorities, but also - if one chooses - ethical and values concerns. That goes for individuals, and it goes for public institutions, which ought to reflect the values of its citizens. That seems to be what is happening here, and I approve.