Norway's $975-billion wealth fund should improve ethical stance: NGO report

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 14, 2017 6:32 AM

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's $975-billion sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, should be more forceful in promoting its ethical agenda and influencing the thousands of companies it invests in, a report commissioned by non-governmental organizations said on Monday.

The fund, which invests the proceeds of Norway's oil and gas production for future generations, has ethical ambitions.

It expects firms it invests in to have policies on issues such as child labor, human rights or water management and does not invest in firms that derive more than 30 percent of their turnover from coal.

Neither does it invest in firms that produce nuclear weapons or anti-personnel landmines.

Still, a study by the Re-Define thinktank published on Monday said the fund could do much more.

"(The fund should) apply its expectations documents on human rights, children's rights, climate change, water management and tax and transparency to itself, just as it expects BlackRock, as well as many other asset managers it holds significant stakes in, to follow," it said.

The report, which was commissioned by a group of nine NGOs including Amnesty International and Save the Children, also said the fund should team up with other investors to address social, environmental and governance challenges.

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"It should immediately join the investor coalitions that already exist on enhancing disclosures of labor policy, fighting the excessive use of antibiotics, and acting against aggressive tax planning," the report said.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Toby Chopra)