Arnold Schwarzenegger accused of profiting from deforestation

Campaigners say Mr Schwarzenegger held more than $1m worth of stock in firms that cause the climate change he wants to stop

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing allegations that a £204bn investment fund that he once held a stake in is a major investor in 20 of the most well-known companies involved in the logging of the world’s rainforests.

The Terminator actor reinvented himself as the state of California’s most environmentalist governor during his time in office, spearheading anti-global warming legislation and helping to bring in the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, in an attempt to reduce deforestation in Indonesia and Brazil.

But campaigners say Mr Schwarzenegger held more than $1m (£606,000) worth of stock in Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) until 2011. The company holds $174m worth of shares in 20 of the 50 major logging companies, according to new research by campaign group Global Witness.

Global Witness says the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global disinvested from at least four of the companies DFA had shares in, including Ta Ann Holdings and WTK Holdings. The reports submitted by the ethics council suggest this was due to an “unacceptable risk” that each company is “responsible for severe environmental damage.” Other companies DFA has shares in have been linked to destructive or illegal practices, according to the campaign group.

“The industrial-scale deforestation caused by some of the companies that Mr Schwarzenegger profits from accelerates the climate change that he wants to stop. In environmental terms, it’s a weaponised contradiction,” said Andrew Simms, chief analyst of Global Witness’s environmental programme.

A spokesperson for DFA said they are “not aware of any companies from the Global Witness list held in Dimensional portfolios that are engaged in illegal activities related to deforestation. We expect publicly listed companies to comply with their legal and regulatory obligations.

“Anybody with information regarding possible illegal activities should report them to the appropriate legal, regulatory and judicial authorities.”

The Independent had not received comment from Arnold Schwarzenegger at the time of publication.

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