The Government Pension Fund Global – Investments in coal companies

In the Report to Parliament on the management of the Government Pension Fund in 2014, which was submitted to Parliament 10 April, the Government presented plans for a new climate criterion for the exclusion of companies from the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), together with a strengthening of active ownership.

Political bodies have adopted ethically motivated criteria for the exclusion of companies from the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). Some of the criteria in the guidelines for observation and exclusion are based on which products companies produce, whilst others are based on the conduct of companies. The Council on Ethics makes recommendations to Norges Bank on the exclusion of companies, while Norges Bank makes such decisions. In addition to these ethically motivated exclusions, Norges Bank makes risk-based divestments within the scope of the mandate set by the Ministry.

Most of the matters deliberated by the Storting, are first prepared by one of the standing committees. The Report on the Management of the Pension Fund in 2014 has, until today, been considered by the Storting’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. The Committee has today submitted its remarks and recommendations regarding the Report on the Management of the Government Pension Fund.

“The Report on the Management of the Pension Fund will be discussed in the Storting 5 June. The Committee expects the Government to propose a concrete, new product-based criterion in the National Budget for 2016 this autumn and the new criterion to be put in place by 1 January 2016. The Government will follow-up the Storting’s deliberations, and will as part of its work ask Norges Bank and the Council on Ethics for advice”, says the Minister of Finance Siv Jensen.

The remarks and recommendations from the Storting’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs shows that the Committee believes it is appropriate with a new product- based criterion aimed at mining companies and power producers that have a significant portion of its income and its business related to coal used for energy purposes. It is further stated by the Committee that “significant”, should as a rule include the above-mentioned companies which themselves or through entities they control base 30 percent or more of their activities on coal, and/or derive 30 percent of their revenue from coal. It is pointed out by the Committee that emphasis should be placed on forward-looking assessments related to the share of the coal-related activities and the share of activities realting to renewable energy sources. The Committee further states that such a criterion must be viewed in relation to the new, conduct-based criterion, and that it does not consider new product-based exclusion criteria for other activities / sectors.

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