Norwegian pension giant drops investments in coal, tar sands, palm oil
30th January 2014
Scandinanvia's biggest pension fund manager will cut all its investments in 'climate villains', writes Sophie Morlin-Yron - including 40 companies in the coal, tar sands and palm oil sectors.
Storebrand is sending an important signal to other investors, that they should drop non-environmentally friendly businesses.
Scandinavia's largest pension company, Storebrand, has announced that it will no longer invest in 'climate villain' companies.
Christine Meisingset, head of sustainable investment at Storebrand, explained in a statement:
"As savings and pensions suppliers we must ensure a long-standing and good return for the clients. Climate change is the most comprehensive risk-factor within sustainability, and preservation of forests, rain forests in particular, is essential to counter these changes."
No more investing in 'climate villains'
The company has been systematically reviewing its investments in each sector, from an environmental perspective, to identify problems with the companies they invest in.
Among the list of "climate villains" reviewed are non-renewables such as coal, which contributes to large amounts of CO2 emissions.
Controversial palm oil is also on the list - which can be found in cosmetics, cleaning, and food products, as well as in biodiesel. The palm oil boom is a major cause of deforestation across the tropics.
The Norwegian company has so far excluded a total of 176 companies from their investments based on ethical criteria, including 40 in the coal, tar sands and palm oil industries.
In total 46 companies are excluded based on "environmental degradation" and 44 on "unsustainability".
Important signal to other investors
The Norwegian NGO Regnskogsfondet is positive about the announcement. Vemund Olsen, policy manager at Regnskogfondet, commented:
"Storebrand is sending an important signal to other investors, that they should drop non-environmentally friendly businesses. In the long-term this is positive for customers, businesses and the earth's climate."
The Danish groups Omstilling.nu ("Change.now") and Ansvarlig Fremtid ("Responsible Future") both commented on their Facebook pages to the announcement, saying it was "a very good example for Danish pension funds to follow".
Sophie Morlin-Yron is a freelance journalist.
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