Recommendations 17 October 2012 and 11 September 2014 regarding the company Soco International plc.

On 17 October 2012, the Council on Ethics recommended the exclusion of the company SOCO International plc. (SOCO) from the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). SOCO has an 85 per cent share in, and is the operator of, a joint venture engaged in petroleum exploration in block V in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The concession area largely overlaps with Virunga National Park. The Council recommended to exclude the company due to an unacceptable risk that it would be responsible for severe environmental damage through its petroleum activities in Virunga, which also has the status of a UN (UNESCO) world natural heritage site. The Ministry of Finance has not made any decision on the matter.

Please find the Council’s 2012 recommendation here.

In June 2014, SOCO concluded an agreement with WWF that it would not engage in further petroleum activity in Virunga for as long as the park has world heritage site status. In a letter to the Council of July 2014, the company confirmed that it has ceased its activities in Virunga. Since the company’s activities have ceased, the Council on Ethics considers that there is no longer an unacceptable risk that the company will be responsible for severe environmental damage in Virunga. On 11 September 2014 the Council on Ethics revoked the recommendation to exclude SOCO from the GPFG.

Please find the Council’s 2014 recommendation here.

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