Norway’s CB eases investment rules - GulfToday

Norway’s CB eases investment rules

Norway Oil

An oil refinery in Mongstad, Norway. Reuters

OSLO: Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund can invest again in miner Rio Tinto and retailer Walmart after their exclusions from the fund’s investments on ethical grounds were revoked, the board of the central bank (CB) said.

The fund can also resume investing in Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim’s Grupo Carso, US defence company General Dynamics and fertiliser-maker Nutrien, the board added in a statement.

Reinvestments will likely take place “within an appropriately long timeframe,” said the board, without specifying a timeline. The fund is managed by a unit of the central bank.

The fund, one of the world’s largest investors, has an ethical mandate set by parliament and is not allowed to invest in companies that produce nuclear weapons, cluster munitions and tobacco, among other ethical criteria. An ethical watchdog, the Council on Ethics, makes recommendations to the board of the central bank on whether companies should be excluded, reincluded or put on a watchlist, after which the board ultimately decides.

Walmart, and its subsidiary Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB de CV, had been excluded from the fund’s investments since 2006 based on an assessment of “serious or systematic violations of human rights”.

These included, in the ethics watchdog’s view, employing minors against international rules, allowing hazardous working conditions at suppliers and pressuring workers into overtime.

“The Council on Ethics has found that the grounds for exclusions are no longer present,” the board of the central bank said in a statement.

Walmart was unavailable for comment on Tuesday. It told Reuters in 2014 that it does not comment on any shareholders that buy or sell its stocks. “Our company provides a range of jobs, and along with training and development, our associates have strong career opportunities. We are proud of what our associates achieve and the opportunities that we provide around the world,” said a Walmart spokesman at the time.


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