Norway wealth fund ‘weeds out’ nine firms over ESG risks

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By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO – Norway’s $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, has conducted a risk-based screening of 442 companies this year, concluding that it would refrain from investing in nine of those firms, it said on Tuesday.

“Our pre-screening builds on and strengthens our long-standing work with risk-based divestments. It’s about weeding out companies that we do not want to be invested in,” said Nicolai Tangen, the CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management.

The Norwegian fund invests in some 9,100 companies worldwide. It uses the FTSE Global All Cap index from FTSE Russell as the basis for its own reference index.

As new stocks are included in the FTSE index, the fund can screen out companies it does not want in its own portfolio based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks.

The fund said it would not name the affected companies as the management of the fund took the decisions and it does not publish the names of affected companies as a matter of practice, as opposed to divestments made under the fund’s ethical mandate set by parliament, when names are made public.

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It said it had also an additional 65 companies “with high sustainability risk” that it would consider following up on in the period ahead. It did not say what the value of these investments were.

(Graphic: Market value of Norway’s wealth fund,

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik, Kirsten Donovan)