Norwegian investors launch SRI initiativeSeptember 2008
Norway’s largest institutional investors are making efforts to promote responsible business practice among companies listed on the Oslo bourse.
The project, called Sustainable Value Creation, is a collaboration between Alfred Berg, DnB NOR, Folketrygdfondet, Gjensidige, KLP, Nordea, Odin, Oslo Pensjonsforsikring, StatoilHydro Kapitalforvaltning, Storebrand, Vital and the Norwegian trade and industry ministry. Together they manage NKr2.7trillion ($505billion, £271bn), one-third of which is invested in Norway.
One of the first actions has been to ask all companies on the Oslo Bors Benchmark Index about their policies on the environment, corruption, and human and labour rights. The businesses were questioned on their policies and commitments, implementation and adherence, reporting, and board accountability. Jeanett Bergan, manager of the project and KLP’s head of responsible investments, said that particular emphasis would be placed on raising awareness of corporate responsibility issues among board members.
Nils Bastiansen of Folketrygdfondet, spokesman for the steering committee of Sustainable Value Creation, said the investors felt swifter change was needed, ‘as sustainable development is an important requirement for achieving the highest possible financial returns’. Finance minister Kristin Halvorsen added that the project reflected a desire by the investors and the government for Norway to be ‘the capital of responsible investments’.
The asset management department of the ministry of finance is currently reviewing the ethical guidelines of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund. The NKr2tn fund’s guidelines are followed by institutional investors outside Norway, so any changes – to be announced in an annual fund report to parliament in spring 2008 – will have a wide impact.
Already a member? click here to login