Now, Rowntree Trust divests Vedanta stake over tribal rights concerns

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has become the latest organisation to sell its entire stake in British mining company Vedanta Resources Plc on concerns over the miner's approach to human rights issues in Orissa.

Rowntree sold 77,600 shares worth £1.9 million of the London-based Vedanta Resources, a FTSE 100 company, after acquiring the shares in October 2008.

Rowntree's, the maker of soft centre and fruit jelly confectionary in York, England, now owned by Swiss food giant Nestle, was founded in 1862 by Henry Isaac Rowntree and later joined by his philanthropist brother Joseph Rowntree.

Joseph Rowntree devoted most of his time in improving the quality of life of his workers, which later led him to look at more charitable causes. Joseph gave half his money to four Rowntree trusts, which continue to undertake social reforms and help charitable causes today.

With the sale, the trust has also made a considerable profit since the share price of the company has gone up by 230 per cent ever since it invested in Vedanta's stock in 2008.

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has become the second non-profit organisation in the UK this month to disinvest in Vedanta.