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Norway excludes tobacco investments from oil fund

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by David Masters
Norway excludes tobacco investment from oil fund

Norway’s government pension fund can no longer be invested in tobacco companies under new guidelines introduced by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

“Production of tobacco has been introduced as a new criterion for exclusion, and we have already followed up the Council on Ethics’ recommendations to sell our holdings in tobacco producing companies,” said finance minister Sigbjørn Johnsen.

The $450 billion Government Pension Fund-Global, Oslo, which invests Norway’s oil and gas wealth for future generations, follows ethical guidelines set by the government.

It already excludes companies that produce nuclear weapons or cluster munitions, damage the environment, or abuse workers’ rights.

The exclusion of tobacco companies coincides with a new set of guidelines that allow for a broader assessment before a company is excluded from the fund on the grounds of grossly unethical behaviour.

“In some cases, it is more useful to put a company under observation than to exclude — for example, if there is uncertainty about how the situation will develop,” Johnsen said.

“We monitor the companies that have been placed on this watch-list closely to see if they implement measures to remedy the situation before we make a final decision on whether to exclude the company or not.”

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News posted: March 5, 2010

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