Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

World’s Largest Sovereign Wealth Fund Raises Standards for Oceans, Sustainability

Business
World’s Largest Sovereign Wealth Fund Raises Standards for Oceans, Sustainability
An ocean view in Norway. Harald Johnsen / CC BY 3.0

Norway's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world, released two documents Wednesday stating it wants the companies it invests in to follow more rigorous rules on ocean plastic pollution and overall sustainability, Reuters reported.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the fund that invests in more than 9,000 companies in 72 countries, said it expected companies to consider ocean sustainability when creating strategy, take ocean-related risks into account and be transparent and responsible in managing the oceans, CNBC reported.


"The ocean is a vital part of the biosphere and an important part of the global economy," NBIM CEO Yngve Slyngstad said in a statement reported by CNBC. "We expect companies to manage the challenges and opportunities related to sustainable use of the ocean."

The fund's ocean "expectation document" is focused on companies that benefit from or impact the ocean in some way, from plastic producers to fisheries to shipping. These companies are worth $56.5 billion total and represent around 8 percent of the fund's global equities portfolio, Reuters reported.

Ocean plastic pollution has emerged as a major environmental problem in recent years, and plastic producers make up about half of the companies targeted by the new document.

Ocean sustainability is one of Norway's stated foreign policy goals, since its main industries of oil and gas, fishing, shipping and fish farming are all dependent on the ocean.

The fund also issued a note Wednesday saying it wants companies to work towards meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, CNBC reported. The goals include environmentally responsible ways to alleviate poverty, promoting social equality and growing the economy by 2030.

The fund said there would be consequences for companies that didn't develop adequate strategies towards achieving these goals, according to Reuters.

"If we believe there isn't a long term sustainable model for various reasons, we will divest from them, like we have done with palm oil and deforestation," the fund's Chief Corporate Governance Officer Carine Smith Ihenacho told Reuters.

The fund was built off of oil and gas revenues, but Norway is currently in the process of deciding if it will divest the fund from fossil fuel companies. A government-sponsored commission advised against this move in August, to the consternation of climate change activists, The Guardian reported.

"This summer Nordic heatwaves, wildfires in the Arctic Circle and alarming news of the thickest Arctic sea ice starting to break up, have brought climate change so close to home for Norway. It seems unthinkable to continue to invest in companies that have caused this chaos," 350.org Europe Team Leader Nicolò Wojewoda told The Guardian.

In the meantime, environmental group Greenpeace was modestly optimistic about the fund's most recent sustainability decision.

"We would have liked to see from the expectation paper more specifics on issues like aquaculture, seabed mining and plastic use reduction," head of Greenpeace Nordic's sustainable finance campaign Martin Norman told Reuters. "But it is clearly a step in the right direction and we look forward to see results of their engagement with companies on ocean sustainability."


OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Gwen Ranniger

In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images

Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Protestors walk past an image of a Native American woman during a march to "Count Every Vote, Protect Every Person" after the U.S. presidential Election in Seattle, Washington on November 4. Jason Redmond / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."

Read More Show Less
Marilyn Angel Wynn / Getty Images

By Christina Gish Hill

Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.

Read More Show Less
Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less