Bizarre: Norway’s $885b Oil Fund Wants To Go After Fossil Fuel Companies

John Byrne
Image source: Nicolas Raymond, Flickr.

Ironic? Norway’s minority government announced Friday that the country’s $885 billion sovereign wealth fund may divest from oil companies, according to a new report in the (subscription-only) Wall Street Journal.

This despite the fact that Norway’s fund bankrolled by the country’s own oil holdings.

The government said they’d also appoint “an expert group to assess whether the fund should be allowed next year to start buying unlisted infrastructure.” From the Journal:

The $885 billion fund—one of the world’s largest investors, holding on average 1.3% of every listed global company—shouldn’t immediately exit its fossil fuel-exposed holdings such as coal assets, the government said. Instead, it should use the threat of exclusion as a tool to pressure companies to change their climate strategies, it said.

“This criteria is broad and good, and behavior-based,” Norway’s Minister of Finance Siv Jensen told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. “I think this is a better ownership tool for the bank than product-based exclusions.”

The fund, set up in the 1990s to safeguard Norway’s vast oil and gas revenues, has previously banned certain types of assets deemed unethical, including companies that produce nuclear weapons, cluster bombs, and tobacco, or that contribute to human rights violations such as child labor.

The full story is available here.