Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund has made a U-turn while on its way out of investments linked to fossil fuels, some big corporations with claims of human rights abuses against them, and a broad range of emerging-market bonds, by revoking a decision approved earlier this month by the country’s parliament.
Most of the exclusions withdrawn were those made on ethical grounds, the fund’s Council on Ethics said in a statement. Among them, one of the high-profile cases is Walmart’s, which had been excluded from the list of companies the fund can invest in for more than a decade.
REINVESTMENTS WILL LIKELY TAKE PLACE “WITHIN AN APPROPRIATELY LONG TIMEFRAME,” SAID THE CENTRAL BANK’S BOARD, WHICH MANAGES THE FUND, WITHOUT PROVIDING A TIMELINE
According to the council, Walmart has made “positive developments” in monitoring its suppliers, “actively” engaging in “Selected, high-risk areas in order to help bring about improvements in working conditions,” it said in a separate letter.
The fund, one of the world’s largest investors, will also resume investing in world’s No. 2 mining company Rio Tinto, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim’s Grupo Carso, US defence company General Dynamics, Canada’s fertilizer giant Nutrien.
Reinvestments will likely take place “within an appropriately long timeframe,” said the central bank’s board, which manages the fund, without providing a timeline.
Rio Tinto (ASX, LON: RIO) was excluded in 2008 based on the risk of causing severe environmental damage related to Indonesia’s Grasberg mine, the world’s second-largest copper mine.
Nutrien (TSX, NYSE: NTR) has been out since 2011, following an assessment of the risk of violations of fundamental ethical norms related to the company’s operations in Western Sahara, a contested territory between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario since Spain left in 1974.
The Council on Ethics said the grounds for exclusions in all those cases were no longer present.