OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s $1.3 trillion wealth fund operates under ethical guidelines set by parliament and excludes companies from its investments that it says do not respect them. It can also put them on a watchlist for possible exclusion at a later stage.
Below is a selection of recent decisions taken by the board of the central bank – the fund is managed by a unit of the bank – based on recommendations from its ethics watchdog, the Council on Ethics.
These come separately to ethical decisions taken by the fund’s management, Norges Bank Investment Management, which can also divest from companies over ethical considerations.
Earlier this month Japanese beverage giant Kirin was put on a watchlist for possible exclusion at a later stage over its business ties to Myanmar’s military.
Kirin on Feb. 5 said it would end its partnership with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHPCL), a company run by Myanmar’s army, after a military coup deposed the democratically elected government.
The fund will monitor the implementation of the company’s plan to end the ties and could exclude the company if it is not satisfied.
In August, the fund excluded India’s Page Industries, which manufactures for swimwear brand Speedo, saying it posed an unacceptable risk for violations of human rights.
Investigations into working conditions at one of its 17 factories identified numerous labour rights violations, including verbal and physical harassment of employees and occupational health and safety hazards, the fund’s ethics watchdog said.
Page has denied wrongdoing and called allegations of verbal abuse and workplace intimidation against employees “outrageous”.
In May, the fund excluded four Canadian oil and gas companies – Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Suncor Energy, and Imperial Oil – companies for producing too much greenhouse gas emissions, its first use of carbon emissions as a criterion to blacklist firms.
The fund excluded some of the world’s biggest commodities firms from its portfolio for their use and production of coal, including Glencore and Anglo American.
The fund is also excluding German utility RWE, South African petrochemicals firm Sasol and Australian company AGL Energy over their use of coal.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Alison Williams)