NORWAY - BAE Systems and Boeing are among seven companies excluded from the global arm of the NOK1300bn Government Pension Fund by the Ministry of Finance on the grounds that they are involved in the production of nuclear weapons.
According to Norges Bank, the fund’s investments in the companies prior to disinvestment totalled almost NOK3.3bn.
The exclusions, made following a recommendation from the Ethics Council, is in line with the fund’s ethical policy which states that companies who produce weapons which, “through their normal use may violate fundamental humanitarian principles”, should be excluded from the fund.
According to the ministry, on 19 September 2005 the Ethics Council advised that BAE Systems, Boeing, Finmeccanica, Honeywell International, Northrop Grumman, Safran and United Technologies be excluded from the pension fund because they, “develop and/or produce central components for nuclear weapons”.
The council said new exclusions may be called for at a later stage.
The recommendation, made while the Bondevik government was still in power, led the ministry to instruct Norges Bank on 11 October to disinvest the seven companies by the end of 2005. The disposal of stocks and bonds in the companies is now complete.
The ministry has said the seven companies were asked to clarify whether or not they are involved in the production of nuclear weapons. It said one company declared production, while the others did not respond or declined to comment. The ministry added that the council then consulted information available on the web pages of those companies, and other sources such as the Jane’s Information Group.
A spokesman for the ministry said further ethical reviews were likely to take place but declined to comment further. Other grounds for exclusion listed within the fund’s ethical guidelines include serious or systematic human rights violations, severe environmental degradation, gross corruption and “serious violations of fundamental ethical norms”.
The Government Pension Fund is comprised of the Government Petroleum Fund and the National Insurance Scheme Fund. The two parts of the fund are titled, The Government Pension Fund - Global and The Government Pension Fund – Norway.
Management of the NOK1300bn global arm is delegated to Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank. The Norway arm is an entirely separate fund managed by the National Insurance Fund.
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