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Norway’s sovereign wealth fund accused of ‘pretend divestment’

Posted on 29 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

World’s richest sovereign wealth fund increased its investments in coal despite high-profile pledge to dump fossil fuels, financial analysis shows. The world’s richest sovereign wealth fund has sunk more money into coal just three months after a high-profile pledge to dump fossil fuels as part of its commitment to responsible investing, according to financial analysis by three environmental groups.
Instead of reducing its overall exposure to businesses based on coal, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (GPF) increased its holdings by 3bn Norwegian kroner to NOK 85.8bn ($11bn/£7.3bn) by the end of last year, the report Still Dirty, Still Dangerous said………………………………Full Article: Source

Coal divestment on tap at Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global

Posted on 29 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Government Pension Fund Global, Oslo, could be forced to divest its allocations to certain coal companies, following a unanimous decision by the finance committee of the Storting, the Norwegian parliament.
The divestment would apply to companies that derive 30% or more of their business from coal. The finance committee’s proposition will be voted on in parliament June 5, said a spokeswoman for Norges Bank Investment Management, the investment manager of the 7 trillion Norwegian kroner ($957 billion) sovereign wealth fund………………………………Full Article: Source

Norway’s Giant Oil Fund Will Divest From Coal. Irony Noted.

Posted on 29 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund may soon have to drop its investments in the coal industry, thanks to a new set of rules making their way through the country’s parliament. Starting next year, the fund would be forced to pull its money from companies such as mining firms or utilities that make at least 30 percent of their revenue from coal, according to the Associated Press.
The law received bipartisan support in committee and is widely expected to pass during a final vote early next month. This is a notable victory for climate change activists who have been lobbying institutional investors to divest from fossil fuels. A number of university endowments and foundations have already joined the cause, but Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is the globe’s largest, laying claim to roughly 1 percent of all the world’s stocks and bonds. Environmentalists just landed a very, very big ally in their crusade………………………………Full Article: Source

Norway’s $900bn sovereign wealth fund told to reduce coal assets

Posted on 28 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Finance committee agrees fund which owns 1.3% of all listed companies globally should sell stakes in firms generating more than a third of income from coal. Norway’s $900bn sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, should cut its exposure to the global coal industry and sell stakes in firms that focus on the sector, a key parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.
The finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion that the fund, which owns about 1.3% of all listed companies globally, should sell stakes in firms that generate more than 30% of their output or revenues from coal-related activities. Already under pressure from Norway’s political establishment, the fund has been selling down its coal portfolio in recent quarters and said its holdings were already small……………………………………Full Article: Source

Norwegian sovereign wealth fund to reduce coal investments

Posted on 28 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s parliament on Wednesday reached an agreement that the country’s sovereign wealth fund should sell shares in all companies in its portfolio which generate more than 30 percent of their revenues from coal. The agreement was accepted by all parties at a meeting of the Norwegian parliament’s finance committee and will be formally adopted by the legislature on June 5, according to English-language digital news publisher The Local.
“This is a great victory for the climate,” said Torstein Svedt Solberg from Norway’s Labor Party, who acted as the rapporteur for the negotiations. “Coal is in class of its own and is the source responsible for the largest emissions of greenhouse gases.”…………………………………..Full Article: Source

Funds feel heat of coal and tar divestment drive

Posted on 25 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund and the Church of England are among recent high-profile sellers. But some of the money managers running the more than $27 trillion in assets held globally in mutual funds say divestment as a tool to address climate change is too simplistic in most cases. Most argue it can leave fewer investors at a company who are committed to steering management in the desired direction.
Given that, a mass exodus of long-term investors such as pension funds from holding certain stock and debt assets could end up hurting the chance of positive investor-led change.”Fundamentally, it is a shareholder choice to buy or sell … What this may mean is the transfer away from shareholders who might have a grown-up dialogue with us about the climate change challenge towards people who may be less bothered about that………………………………………..Full Article: Source

SWFs must grasp ’substantial’ greenfield opportunities

Posted on 20 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Pension and sovereign wealth funds will in future play a significantly bigger role in building urban spaces in emerging economies, despite the associated regulatory risk, the head of a leading think tank has predicted.
Sony Kapoor, managing director at Re-Define, pointed towards India’s plans to amend construction regulation and allow industrial corridors as offering “very substantial opportunities” for investors willing to work closely with governments in emerging markets. “We are seeing increasing three-way collaborations between experts in greenfield urban developments, governments and large long-term investors,” he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Khazanah debuts ethical Islamic bonds with annual sales planned

Posted on 19 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Malaysia’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund is about to test appetite for the nation’s first socially responsible Islamic bonds and plans to issue such debt annually. Khazanah Nasional Bhd will start marketing as much as RM150 million (US$42 million) of the seven-year sukuk today, Chief Financial Officer Mohd Izani Ghani said in a May 14 interview in Kuala Lumpur.
The offering will fund 20 schools in Malaysia, he said, adding that future sale options may include healthcare and affordable housing. The world’s biggest Shariah-compliant debt market is setting a precedent for Socially Responsible Investment sukuk after pioneering Islamic finance 30 years ago………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Khazanah to test market with Malaysia’s first ethical sukuk

Posted on 19 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Malaysia’s sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional on Monday launched the country’s first sustainable and responsible sukuk (SRI) with a RM1 billion bond programme. Khazanah will price the first issuance next week: a seven-year RM100 million sukuk that will fund the rollout of 20 new government schools this year.
It hopes to raise at least RM150 million annually by issuing sukuk from the 25-year programme, which has a preliminary credit rating of AAA by Kuala-Lumpur based RAM ratings………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Grain listing in shape with COFCO, CIC venture

Posted on 18 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

COFCO Corp, China’s largest food company, is setting up a joint venture with sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp, in preparation of a full listing for its recently acquired grain, oil and sugar assets. The cooperation with COFCO is also in line with CIC’s plans.
COFCO, also known as China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corp, is the country’s biggest grain trader. It acquired Dutch grain company Nidera BV and Hong Kong-based Noble Agri last year, giving it direct access to South American grain and oilseed supplies………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Cofco Joins With China Wealth Fund to Create Global Grain Trader

Posted on 15 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Cofco Corp., China’s largest food company, joined forces with the country’s $650 billion sovereign wealth fund to create a global grain trading house. Cofco and China Investment Corp. set up a joint venture named Cofco International as a “platform for international agriculture investment,” the food company said Thursday in a statement. Cofco owns 80.1 percent and CIC the rest, it said, without giving financial details.
The partnership will help Cofco to integrate the trading businesses it acquired last year, when it snapped up 51 percent stakes in Noble Group Ltd.’s grain arm and the Netherlands’ Nidera BV. The acquisitions, giving Cofco large operations in Latin America and eastern Europe, will allow the state-owned company to compete with the biggest grain suppliers………………………………..Full Article: Source

CIC to set up venture to run agricultural businesses

Posted on 13 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

China’s largest grain trader COFCO is setting up a venture with sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC) to control COFCO’s investments in Dutch trader Nidera and Noble Group Ltd’s agribusiness. The venture could increase CIC’s exposure to the agricultural sector, where the $653-billion fund has said it was eyeing more investments to help China get a bigger foothold in the food industry.
Noble, one of Asia’s biggest commodities trading firms, has been under scrutiny this year for its accounting methods after previously unknown Iceberg Research alleged the company had inflated asset values by billions of dollars. Noble has staunchly defended itself against the accusations. CIC owns 9.4 percent of Noble, after selling the equivalent of 4.5 percent of the commodity trader in September last year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s $900 Billion Wealth Fund Warns Miners of Coal Discount

Posted on 13 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund warned mining companies they could be in for a valuation discount amid growing investor opposition to coal production. “Systematic divestment programs may introduce a ‘coal discount’ within the mining sector,” Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages the fund, said in a letter to the biggest miners it holds stakes in.
The fund said it expects the miners “will be motivated to identify the anticipated costs of separating the mining of coal from the company’s mining operations and to disclose any timeline under consideration.” The Feb. 5 letter, signed by Chief Executive Yngve Slyngstad, as well as a separate Feb. 4 letter sent to utilities, both mentioned in a parliamentary hearing this month, were obtained by Bloomberg through a freedom of information request. NBIM declined to say which or how many companies it had sent the letters to………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China, Russia Form $2 Billion Agricultural Investment Fund

Posted on 11 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

China and Russia agreed to launch a $2 billion investment fund to develop agricultural projects in the two countries and set up a free-trade zone between their key farming belts, the state-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund said Friday.
The move broadens China’s search for a diverse global breadbasket to supply its sharply rising demand for food. It marks a sharper pivot toward Russia and accelerates a drive that has seen the Asian giant spend billions of dollars to acquire food-producing companies abroad as well as cultivate farming producers like Argentina and Ukraine………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway fund cuts pure-play coal stakeby 41% in Q1

Posted on 07 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has reduced its pure-play coalmining holdings again, cutting its stake to just $A83m of the $A1.12tn fund, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to the newspaper, the holdings are now just about one-fifth of its late 2013 pure-play coal holdings, but the fund still holds about $20bn in utilities shares and $6bn in diversified mining company stocks, both of which may include coal operations.
The changes come amid concerns about the sustainability of pure-play coalminers’ business models, the Journal reports, with Norwegian politicians in a continuing debate about whether to restrict the giant fund’s investments in fossil fuel industries, particularly with the UN climate summit looming in Paris later this year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway request for miners to dump coal shows climate fears are on the rise

Posted on 07 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The world biggest sovereign wealth fund’s decision to ask top mining companies about the possibility of spinning off coal assets underscores increasing pressure on producers of the fossil fuel to prepare for a low-carbon future.
Norges Bank Investment Management, managing Norway’s $US900 billion ($1.13 trillion) fund, wrote to the biggest miners and “raised the question of spinning off coal mining,” Chief Executive Officer Yngve Slyngstad told Norway’s parliament Monday. It “requested plans for transition to low-carbon energy systems,” he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway Wealth Fund Letter Shows Pressure on Miners to Dump Coal

Posted on 06 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The biggest sovereign wealth fund’s decision to ask top mining companies about the possibility of spinning off coal assets underscores increasing pressure on producers of the fossil fuel to prepare for a low-carbon future.
Norges Bank Investment Management, managing Norway’s $900 billion fund, wrote to the biggest miners and “raised the question of spinning off coal mining,” Chief Executive Officer Yngve Slyngstad told Norway’s parliament Monday. It “requested plans for transition to low-carbon energy systems,” he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s Norges Bank Investment Management ditches coal

Posted on 06 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, the world’s biggest, informed parliament yesterday it has exited most of its holdings in pure-play coalmining companies, as politicians of the Scandinavian nation debate whether to restrict or even ban it from investing in certain fossil-fuel industries.
Norges Bank Investment Management, which runs the fund under the supervision of Norway’s central bank, said it held 500 million Norwegian kroner ($83m) in pure-play coalmining companies at the end of the first quarter, roughly one fifth of the 2.6 billion kroner it held as of late 2013………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Nordic Funds Cut U.S. Oil, Coal Investments on Climate Concern

Posted on 06 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Slumping commodity prices and growing public concern over climate change have pushed Nordic funds that control $1.3 trillion in investments to cut support for U.S. fossil-fuel companies led by the oil producer EOG Resources Inc. and the coal miner Peabody Energy Corp.
The investors, including Norway’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund and Nordea Bank AB from Sweden, have also sold off holdings in Devon Energy Corp., Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and the utility American Electric Power Inc., according to research from Bloomberg Intelligence………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Members of three Danish pension funds vote to divest from fossil fuels

Posted on 06 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Academics, civil engineers and architects in Denmark have voted in favour of their pension funds selling off coal and high risk oil and gas investments, because of the role of fossil fuels in driving climate change. Together the six pension funds for Danish professionals cover 200,000 people, about 5% of all workers, and have €32bn (£23bn) of assets.
The region’s biggest fund manager Nordea and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, have sold out of dozens of coal companies. On Monday, Norway’s £580bn sovereign wealth fund said it had cut by 40% its investments in companies whose sole business is coal mining and also suggested to general mining companies, in which the fund has much bigger stakes, that they spin off their coal assets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway Oil Fund Sheds More Coal Assets

Posted on 05 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, the world’s biggest, informed parliament on Monday it has exited most of its holdings in pure-play coal mining companies, as lawmakers of the Scandinavian nation debate whether to restrict or even ban it from investing in certain fossil-fuel industries.
Norges Bank Investment Management, which runs the fund under the supervision of Norway’s central bank, said it held 500 million Norwegian kroner ($65.79 million) in pure-play coal mining companies at the end of the first quarter, roughly one fifth of the 2.6 billion kroner it held as of late 2013………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s oil fund slashes coal investments after criticism

Posted on 05 May 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $900 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, has reduced the value of its coal mining portfolio by almost 40 percent in the first quarter, its head told parliament on Monday. Environmental groups and some Norwegian politicians have accused the fund of having too large an exposure to coal and not making enough use of its influence to reduce carbon emissions.
As of March 31 the fund had coal mining assets worth 493 million crowns ($3.75 million), down from 805 million at the end of 2014. The fund owns assets worth 31 billion crowns in general mining, 109 billion in power production and 228 billion in oil and gas production………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Aust fund tops Global Climate Index

Posted on 28 April 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Australian super funds on average are managing climate change risk well, with Local Government Super topping a list of the world’s top-500 asset owners. BUT the Future Fund, Telstra Super and Asgard scored poorly on this year’s Global Climate Index.
On average, Australian funds come in second behind Norway in the Assets Owners Disclosure Project’s annual report. Local Government Super reclaimed top spot in 2014/15 after slipping to second last year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

World’s largest sovereign wealth fund takes stand against deforestation

Posted on 22 April 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global — the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund — is adopting standards to avoid investing in companies linked to tropical deforestation, sending a strong signal that forest destruction is not an acceptable practice for responsible businesses, reports Rainforest Foundation Norway.
Conducting an analysis of the Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global’s (GPFG) annual report, Rainforest Foundation Norway finds that while the fund still invests 137 billion Norwegian kroner ($19.7 billion) in sectors tied to deforestation, it has strengthened its policies to reduce exposure to companies that destroy forests…………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s oil fund backs more focus on climate change at BP, Shell

Posted on 16 April 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s oil fund, the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, said on Wednesday it would back a proposal from shareholders of BP and Royal Dutch Shell for further information from the companies on risks and opportunities associated with climate change.
The $885 billion Fund, which invests revenues from Norway’s offshore oil and gas production, disclosed its voting intentions for the first time ahead of the companies’ shareholders meeting, in line with its previously announced strategy to increase transparency………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Go greener: Norway to clean up sovereign wealth fund

Posted on 13 April 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway said Friday it would bar its state pension fund, the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, from investing in the worst climate-polluting companies. In its annual white book on managing the fund, the right-wing government proposed to “introduce a new criterion to exclude companies whose conduct to an unacceptable degree entail greenhouse gas emissions.”
The proposal did not mention any companies by name. The new rule is in line with experts’ recommendations in a December report, though its conclusions had left environmentalists and the political opposition disappointed………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway Opposition Pushes for Sovereign Fund to Exit Coal

Posted on 13 April 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A six-party majority in Norway’s parliament aims to negotiate a deal that would force the country’s sovereign-wealth fund to divest from coal this year, against the advice of the minority government, the parties’ spokesmen told The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
Parliament was expected to decide last year to ban the $885 billion fund from investing in coal-intensive companies, but postponed it, pending a review of the fund’s climate strategies. The review and the government advised against coal divestment, but spokesmen from all six opposition parties said Friday that they were still ready to discuss the move………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway seeks more oversight, green investments at wealth fund

Posted on 13 April 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway wants to increase oversight at its $885bn sovereign wealth fund, consider investments in more real assets and expand the fund’s environmental mandate, the government said on Friday.
The fund has become one of the biggest investors in the world, and it needs increased control after a period of exceptional growth, the government said in a series of proposals. It may also need to diversify its portfolio of investment. Managed by the central bank, the fund now holds $170,000 for each of Norway’s 5.16-million people and owns more than 1% of global shares with holdings in more than 9,000 companies………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norwegian oil fund adopts ‘broad criteria’ for climate change exclusion

Posted on 13 April 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is to introduce a criteria-based exclusion policy to divest from companies that make an “unacceptable” contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, the government has announced. Adopting the recommendations of a report and consultation, the Norwegian Finance Ministry said the exclusion policy would work alongside a strengthening of its engagement.
The NOK6.4trn (€706bn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) will introduce a “conduct-based exclusion criterion” that looks at the acts and emissions of a company that consist of greenhouse gases, divesting when it becomes unacceptable………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UK’s ‘first’ offshore wind investment fund attracts English councils and Abu Dhabi

Posted on 02 April 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund and two English local authority pension funds have invested a total of £263m in a new dedicated offshore wind fund established by the Green Investment Bank (GIB), BusinessGreen understands. The GIB confirmed today that it had closed the first £463m stage of fundraising for its new offshore wind venture, which includes £200m from the GIB and £263m of private capital.
BusinessGreen has learned that the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (AIDA) and two English local authority pension funds contributed the private capital. They are expected to make immediate returns on their investments because the GIB has transferred its existing offshore wind investment portfolio into the fund, the bank said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Will Norway divest from giant Indian firm because of the Amazon?

Posted on 26 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

In 2010 the Council on Ethics for Norway’s “Government Pension Fund Global” (GPFG) recommended that the GPFG divest its holdings from giant Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, which last year The Economist magazine described as “India’s biggest private firm (measured by profits).”
The justification was the threat that Reliance, as a minority partner in oil exploration in one of the remotest parts of Peru’s Amazon, was considered to pose to indigenous people who live so remotely they are sometimes described, misleadingly, as “uncontacted.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

For SWFs, is “Doing Good” Bad for Stakeholders?

Posted on 24 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Sovereign wealth funds are increasingly screening their portfolios based on so-called social criteria. Does that hurt returns? Does it change corporate behavior? And does that matter? As sovereign wealth fund assets surge, more investments are being screened for so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which oversees Norway’s $861 billion.
Government Pension Fund Global announced just last month that in 2014 it had divested stakes in 49 companies, which it did not name, based upon ESG considerations, bringing the number of companies it has dumped in the past three years to 114………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway SWF owns shares in sanctioned Russian banks

Posted on 19 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Government’s Pension Fund Global, currently worth over 7.000 billion Norwegian kroner (€796 billion), have invested 32.095 million kroner in Russia, mainly in oil- and gas and the banking sector. That is also the two sectors, in addition to the military industrial complex, that are highlighted in the EU and US sanctions regime against Moscow.
The Norwegian regulations on restrictive measures imposed from August 15th, 2014, lists five Russian banks, including the two in which the Norwegian fund owns shares; VTB Bank and Sberbank. In Sberbank, the fund also holds bond investments worth nearly 90 million kroner. That investment was made last year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

More than 10,000 people call on Dutch pension fund to divest from fossil fuels

Posted on 19 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

More than 10,000 people have called on the fifth largest pension fund in the world to divest from oil, coal and gas. Members of the Dutch pension fund ABP handed over a petition to the fund’s managers on Tuesday asking them to remove fossil fuel company holdings from its $360bn (£250bn) portfolio.
The campaign is part of a fast-growing movement, launched by the campaign group 350.org, that is putting pressure on institutions around the world to remove their investments from fossil fuels. Around 60% of those who signed the petition to ABP currently hold their pension with the fund………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UN backing fossil fuel divestment campaign

Posted on 18 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

In early March, the City of Oslo, capital of Norway, announced that they would be divesting $7 million (£4.7m) worth of coal assets from its pension fund. Norway announced last December that it would begin excluding the most harmful of climate offenders from its $870 billion (£589bn) sovereign wealth fund on a “case-by-case basis”.
Subsequently, the bank in charge of the country’s sovereign wealth fund announced in February that 49 companies had been divested from the fund’s investments. An ever-increasing number of universities around the world have also made the decision to divest their fossil fuel investments, including a number throughout the US, Sweden, and the University of Sydney, the first Australian university to do so………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway fund turns green, exits coal stocks

Posted on 17 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The $850-billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has sold off almost all of its holdings of Indian coal and power stocks such as Coal India, Adani Power, GVK Infra and NTPC, Lanco Infratech, CESC and Monnet Ispat, among others, during 2014, citing risks posed to climate, according to the list of sovereign fund’s holdings available with dna said.
The massive fund, which is minority shareholder in more than 9,000 companies across the globe, however has curiously made investment in Reliance Power during the year. The sell-off has not been restricted to India alone as investments in global energy majors, 16 from the US including Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, Consol Energy and Peabody, five Australian coal companies like Coal of Africa, Coalspur Mines and Whitehaven Coal, and also Exxaro of South Africa have been sold off……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Norwegian fund dumps Australian coal investments

Posted on 17 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The world’s richest sovereign wealth fund has rid itself of investments in Australian coal companies, highlighting the environmental impact of the production of the commodity. Norges Bank, manager of the $US850 billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund, has outlined the divestment of its interests in 14 coal miners around the world in 2014.
Five Australian companies among them included Whitehaven Coal, owner of the Maules Creek project, which has been under constant scrutiny from green groups. The bank said when choosing to withdraw its investment in coal miners it paid particular attention to how heavily companies were exposed to the energy markets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Adani, Whitehaven, Peabody sold by Norway

Posted on 17 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Whitehaven Coal, America’s Peabody Energy and China’s Yanzhou Coal Mining are among a slew of coal mining and power companies dumped by Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund during 2014. The divestments also include India’s Adani Power, which wants to build a giant coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, and large numbers of coal companies in developing India and Indonesia.
Norges Bank, manager of the $US850 billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund, said last month it made the divestments after intensfying its scrutiny of the pollution performance of sustainability of the coal industry and the wider mining sector………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norwegian pension fund asks companies to reveal climate change strategies

Posted on 17 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Norges Bank, manager of Norway’s Government Pension Fund, has called for companies it investment in to test their business strategies against global climate change efforts. According to WWF-Norway, if other funds follow suit it could be the start of the “tipping point” the world needs to stop financing polluting energy sources.
The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is the largest in the world at $893 billion (£604bn). It accounts for 1% of all shares globally, investing in over 7,000 companies. Traditionally it has been linked to fossil fuels, resulting in it being known as the ‘oil fund’………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway SWF may pull investment from Bangladesh’s coal plant

Posted on 11 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s pension fund may withdraw investment from a coal plant to be built with Indian partner on the edge of Sundarbans mangrove forest, citing threat of severe environmental damage. The massive 1,320 megawatt Rampal thermal plant would sit on the edge of Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, in Bangladesh.
For more than two years, citizens, artists, and social and environmental activists protested plans to build this plant close to a forest that is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s world heritage site as well as a Ramsar wetland site. In September 2013, about 20,000 people marched for five days from Dhaka to Dighraj. ‘The long march’ covered a distance of nearly 250 miles, to demand the scrapping of the power plant………………………………………..Full Article: Source

AfDB approves $174.85m to boost agriculture

Posted on 09 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The African Develop­ment Bank (AfDB) has approved the sum of $174.85 million towards financing of the Agricultural Transforma­tion Support Programme (ATASP-1). AFDB said it would support the costs of infrastructure and value chain development and pro­gramme management for four Staple Crop Process­ing Zones (SCPZ) in Ada­ni-Omor, Bidda-Badeggi, Kano-Jigawa and Kebbi- Sokoto.
According to him, govern­ment had launched a $100 million private equity fund – Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN) – together with the German Develop­ment Bank (KfW) and the Ni­gerian Sovereign Wealth Fund to expand access to long term finance for agric business………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Feeling Hungry, SWFs Ramp Up Food and Agriculture Purchases

Posted on 06 March 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Sovereign wealth funds’ appetite for agriculture and fertilizer companies is growing as concerns about stable food supplies rise. Last year, Ding Xuedong, chief executive officer of China Investment Corp.(CIC), the country’s $650 million sovereign wealth fund, put the the issue of food security squarely on the agenda for state-owned investors. In a June 2014 op-ed piece for the Financial Times, he wrote that the fund was planning to partner with governments, multilateral organizations, and institutional investors to increase world’s food supply and generate profits.
CIC is not alone. Other sovereign wealth funds are acting to protect their countries from food shortages, particularly in the Middle East. They are plowing money into land, farms and forestry as well as agricultural businesses. In the last 10 years, 14 state-owned funds executed 51 deals worthat least $11.1 billion in the industry according to Sovereign Wealth Center (SWC) data. These include the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC), Singapore’s GIC and Temasek Holdings………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia sovereign fund plans $279 mln “social impact” sukuk

Posted on 27 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Malaysia’s $40 billion sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional plans to issue a sukuk worth up to one billion ringgit ($279.17 million) to help fund schools, its managing director said on Thursday.
Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of an Islamic finance event in London, the fund’s head Azman Mokhtar said the planned “social impact sukuk” is awaiting regulatory approval from Malaysian financial regulators. The move is aimed at opening funding for education to a broad pool of investors rather than financing it out of its own reserves, he added………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar’s Hassad Food eyes Brazilian sugar, poultry assets

Posted on 26 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hassad Food, the agricultural arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, said it was looking at possible purchases of Brazilian sugar and poultry assets as structural problems in those industries in the South American country created opportunities.
“We have a lot of stuff in our pipeline and Brazil is definitely part of that, not only sugar but also poultry,” Youssef Hegazy, vice president for business development at Hassad Food, said on Wednesday. Hassad Food, wholly owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, was set up in 2008 to boost the Gulf country’s food security………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Greens want NZ Super Fund to drop fossil fuels

Posted on 16 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Greens are calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels, as it accuses its guardians of betting on a climate disaster. The fund currently has $676 million in fossil fuel companies - about 2 per cent of the fund’s assets under management. “The guardians are meant to be investing for the long term, but by investing over $676 million into fossil fuel companies, they’re hedging that the world will take no action on the climate - a world for our kids where it’s not worth living to retirement age,” Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said.
“It is now a well-established fact that if all the world’s known reserves of coal, oil, and gas are burned, our climate is toast. At least three-quarters of these reserves will have to stay in the ground, wiping much of the current value of the fossil fuel sector………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway Takes the High Ground on Climate Change

Posted on 13 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

There was some dramatic news out of Norway this week, showing what is possible on the climate front if the political will is there. The Norwegian government announced that they would cut their carbon emissions by no less than 40% from 1990 levels by the year 2030. This puts them in line with the ambitious target set by the European Union (EU).
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund happens to be the largest in the world. So the fact that they have chosen to dump the stocks of those 32 coal-related companies and those of any other companies that contribute disproportionally to climate change is quite a statement………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Investing and Divesting for the Climate

Posted on 13 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A recent study from WWF Sweden and PwC has revealed exactly that. Through the social security system, sovereign wealth funds and church funds, among other, all of us are investors. This crucial piece of information has been picked up by many, not least by professional investors and future pensionists.
Just this week the world’s wealthiest sovereign wealth fund Norges announced its divestment from 114 companies with the aim to strengthen its work on responsible investment. Norges argued there to be “high levels of uncertainty about the sustainability” of the companies’ business models it divested from………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil Fund allocates AZN 300m for needs of refugees

Posted on 13 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

In 2014, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) allocated AZN 300 m to improve social and living conditions of refugees and internally displaced, Oxu.Az reports with reference to SOFAZ.
According to the approved budget for 2015, the expences of the Oil Fund to finance activities in connection with the improvement of social and living conditions of refugees and internally displaced persons are provided in the amount of AZN 150 m………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Fossil Fuel Divestment: Smart Bet or Losing Strategy?

Posted on 11 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Just last week, Norway announced that its sovereign wealth fund — an $850 billion pension reserve that was built on the Scandinavian nation’s oil and gas resources — had jettisoned more than 49 companies, many involved in coal and unconventional oil extraction, from its portfolio in 2014.
The reason: “Uncertainty about the sustainability of their business model.” To be sure, Norway is still investing heavily in fossil fuels. But the move nonetheless adds to the more than $50 billion that proponents of divestment say has been pulled out of the fossil fuel sector by both institutional and individual investors since the movement was launched by climate activists in 2012………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s Pension Fund Discloses Divestment Practices

Posted on 10 February 2015 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global revealed those companies it divested from in 2014, judging “there to be high levels of uncertainty about the sustainability” of these companies’ business models. Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, the Norwegian bank which manages the country’s Government Pension Fund Global, commented on its decisions in a press release announcing a report investigating responsible investment in 2014:
“Our aim with this report is to provide a full overview of the many different areas we are working on and so increase transparency on the management of the fund. We recognise that there is still much to be done, and that we will encounter a number of challenges in the years ahead. Our role is to think long-term and protect value for future generations.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

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