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Norway’s $1.15 trillion oil fund giant puts premium on ethical investing

Norway’s $1.15 trillion oil fund giant puts premium on ethical investing

OSLO: Norway’s $1.15 trillion Cdn sovereign-wealth oil fund announced this week that it will sell its stakes in four Asian companies over environmental concerns, underlining yet again how willing it is to take an activist approach to companies that fail to meet its ethical standards.

 

The mammoth fund, which is financed by profits, taxes and fees from Norway’s offshore oil and gas sector, said it would divest from South Korean steelmaker Posco, its subsidiary Daewoo International Corp., and two Malaysian companies, Genting Berhad and IJM Corporation Berhad.

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The sell decision came from the fund’s ethical council. It said the four companies may be responsible for environmental damage linked to the conversion of tropical forests in Indonesia into palm oil plantations.

The four companies are the latest to join a blacklist of more than 60 companies that have been excluded from the fund’s portfolio for a variety of environmental, social or governance reasons.

Two Canadian companies have made the list: Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and Barrick Gold.

Barrick was added in 2008 following a recommendation from the fund’s ethics council because of “an unacceptable risk of contribution to ongoing and future environmental damage” at a mine in Papua New Guinea.

 

PotashCorp was excluded in 2011 because it imported phosphate from occupied territory in Western Sahara.