NORWAY – Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global has shed its NOK13.7bn (US$2.4bn) investment in 17 tobacco producing companies including Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.
The Norwegian Ministry of Finance said it made the decision to divest based on recommendations it received from the Council on Ethics, new government frameworks and a World Health Organisation treaty regarding tobacco.
The Ministry of Finance said: "In drafting a new criterion on screening tobacco producers, the Ministry of Finance placed particular emphasis on finding a delimitation that fits well with the structure of the current ethical guidelines, including existing rules for negative screening of certain weapons manufacturers.
"On this basis, a rule has been adopted that in principle will exclude all production of tobacco, regardless of the percentage of business represented by tobacco production."
Negative screening, or excluding companies from a portfolio based on certain criteria is common practice among pension funds around the world.
In 2008, for example, Sweden's AP funds 1-4 excluded nine companies involved in the sale of cluster bombs. (Global Pensions; September 15, 2008)
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