Norwegian sovereign wealth fund excludes 4 companies doing business in conflict zones
Government Pension Fund Global, Oslo, has divested the shares of four companies in its portfolio because of their contribution to the violation of the rights of individuals in conflict zones, a spokesperson confirmed.
The board of directors of Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages the assets of the sovereign wealth fund of NOK 12 08 trillion ($ 1.340 trillion), sold respectively 66.5 million investment crowns and 11.6 billion million crowns of participation in construction companies Electra and Elco, as well as 6 million crowns equity investment in industrial real estate company Ashtrom Group. All three companies are based in Israel.
The Ethics Council, which recommends divestitures to GPFG, has ruled that the companies present a risk because they contribute to systematic violations of the rights of individuals in connection with Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The council ruled that Israeli settlements in the West Bank were built in violation of international law.
The fund wants to avoid the risk that Electra, through construction activities linked to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, will contribute to the conflict. Elco contributes in the same way due to its ownership of Electra, the board said.
The council also concluded that Ashtrom, which rents buildings in the West Bank, is helping to maintain an illegal state.
In addition, the board of directors also sold a stake of 519 million crowns in the Indian company Oil & Natural Gas Corp. because of the risk that the company contributes to systematic violations of the rights of individuals in South Sudan, where it is engaged in oil production. Control of the country’s oil resources has been the driving force behind the conflict, the council said.