NORWAY - Norges Bank has defended itself against accusations that it is falling well short of its ambitions as an ethical investor with regard to climate change.
The company, which manages the Government Pension Fund Global through Norges Bank Investment Management on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, said it was "surprised" that it had been singled out by Framtiden i våre hender (The Future in our hands) for taking the least action on climate change issues in Norway in 2009.
Activist group Framtiden i våre hender accuse the pension fund manager of a "total lack of climate profile in their investment management" despite an apparent commitment to push for better performance on climate management within companies it holds in its portfolio.
But the Norges Bank rejected the claims.
In a statement published by the Bank, it said climate is "one of the most important topics" in the ongoing revision of the ethical guidelines of the Government Pension Fund Global.
It also said that climate is one of six focus areas within their work for active ownership and evidence that it does consider climate when making investments.
In August, NBIM said it implemented a new water resource management strategy that evaluates the risk of potential global water shortages. (Global Pensions; August 14, 2009)
But Arild Hermsta, a spokesperson for Framtiden, pointed out that there is no evidence to back up the pension fund's claims that they have put their active ownership strategy into practice.
He said: "They have not any public - or internal - watch list for companies with no climate profile, they do not exclude any companies for climate reasons, and they have not yet established their long-anticipated climate fund, which they announced at the start of 2009."
Hermsta added: "Four of the five largest equity holdings in the benchmark portfolio of the NOK2.5trn (US$430bn) fund are in oil companies."
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