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Sovereign wealth funds ‘can lead the way on sustainability’

Posted on 28 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

As major investors with significant pools of money, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) can lead the drive to value nature in their investment policies. Citizens could also engage funds that invest public money to ask, for instance, how environmental, social and governance issues factor in their investment decisions.
These suggestions surfaced yesterday at a discussion on how financial-service providers can increase sustainability in their sector. SWFs can lead by example, said panellists at the Responsible Business Forum’s financial services working group………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway weighs going green with its $800 bln pension fund

Posted on 15 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway, as the owner of an $800 billion sovereign wealth fund – the world’s largest – has made great efforts over the years to be an ethical investor. But it’s not always been easy.
The most recent reminder came last week when politicians in Norway called for the Government Pension Fund, which is based on excess petroleum revenues, to pull out of coal company investments abroad – a conundrum given that the country itself produces coal via a Norwegian state-owned company up in the northern territory of Svalbard………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway weighs going green with its $800 bln pension fund

Posted on 14 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway, as the owner of an $800 billion sovereign wealth fund – the world’s largest – has made great efforts over the years to be an ethical investor. But it’s not always been easy.
The most recent reminder came last week when politicians in Norway called for the Government Pension Fund, which is based on excess petroleum revenues, to pull out of coal company investments abroad – a conundrum given that the country itself produces coal via a Norwegian state-owned company up in the northern territory of Svalbard………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s $800 bln fund should lose independent ethics panel

Posted on 12 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The ethics panel that decides which firms Norway’s $800-billion wealth fund should avoid should lose its independence and become part of the central bank, a report said, a shift critics said would undermine the fund’s ethical strategy.
The report by a government-appointed commission also called for more research on the performance of ethical investments, saying a lack of such studies made it difficult to assess how the fund’s stance compared with other strategies………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Strategy Council recommends more focus on responsible investments for Norway SWF

Posted on 12 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Strategy Council for the Government Pension Fund Global, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, has recommended changes to ensure greater focus on responsible investing by the fund’s manager Norges Bank, as well as greater transparency in its decision making.
The recommendation is contained in the latest report of the Strategy Council, which has reported on 11 November. The Council notes the difficulty of managing some 7,000 holdings in equity and debt of companies, but that it is important to ensure any investment decisions are in line with the consensus of the Norwegian people - who ultimately will judge whether the fund carries legitimacy………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s Labour Party wants wealth fund banned from coal investing

Posted on 07 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Reuters reported that Norway’s opposition Labour Party would like to see the country’s $800-billion wealth fund banned from investing in coal producers. A spokesperson said that the party believes “humans are responsible for climate change so we must also see what we can do to reduce emissions.”
As quoted in the market news: The fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, is a major shareholder in some of the biggest coal miners on the planet, including global giants BHP Billiton , Vale and Anglo American, as well as China’s top producer, China Shenhua ………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s opposition wants $800 bln wealth fund banned from coal

Posted on 06 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s opposition Labour Party has proposed banning the country’s $800 billion wealth fund from investing in coal producers, a motion that may gain traction as several outside backers of the minority government expressed support.
“We believe that humans are responsible for climate change so we must also see what we can do to reduce emissions,” Labour Party finance spokesman Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Could Norway’s sovereign wealth fund join coal divestment trend?

Posted on 06 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Labour opposition calls for shift in investment strategy towards clean energy for national pension fund. Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (NBIM) could soon become the largest institutional investor to date to ditch coal investments, after the opposition Labour Party called on the new government to reform the $800bn fund’s lending policies.
A statement released by former foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre this week argued that the government should actively explore divesting from coal companies, building on its existing commitment not to invest in tobacco and palm oil firms………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Sovereign wealth funds: Can they be community funds?

Posted on 06 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The idea that governments should invest some of their wealth for public benefit has moved from utopian dream to part-reality with the advent of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs). But are these SWFs really democratic entities?
Over the past five years, Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) have become a prominent phenomenon in contemporary global capitalism. SWFs are government owned investment vehicles that take state wealth from excess reserves or commodity windfalls and invest it for returns in financial markets. They now number over 60 worldwide, the majority of which have come into existence since the year 2000……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Middle East money expanding Top End sandalwood

Posted on 05 November 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The world’s largest producer of Indian sandalwood has received $49 million from a sovereign wealth fund in the Middle East to plant nearly 600 hectares of sandalwood in the Northern Territory.
Tropical Forestry Services (TFS) says the investment includes $10 million to purchase some of its more mature plantations in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. TFS’ general manager of communications, Quentin Megson, says the Middle East investor will see returns from its new plantation near Katherine in about 15 years………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar sovereign wealth fund considers impact investment

Posted on 31 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Qatar’s $100 billion sovereign wealth fund is reportedly considering impact investment – a strategy that balances social or environmental objectives with financial returns.
The investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Qatar Holdings, is thought to have invested around $30 billion during the course of 2012. Reports now suggest that a proportion of this will now be used to deliver social and environmental improvements as well as financial returns……………………………..Full Article: Source

Wealthy Norway mulls investment in renewables

Posted on 23 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s new government is mulling over the prospect of investing some of its sovereign wealth fund in renewable energy projects across the world.
The government, to be led by Conservative party leader Erna Solberg, is set to establish an investment programme for the Government Pension Fund of Norway with the purpose of backing sustainable projects and companies………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Will Norway’s green aspirations hurt Statoil?

Posted on 22 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Norwegian government is looking at making more green investments. Seeing as Norway runs a sovereign wealth fund worth around $700 billion and is the majority owner of the oil major Statoil , its investment decisions impact the real world. It is unlikely that Statoil would be forced to make unprofitable investments just to tickle Oslo’s fancy, but it is still important to examine all of the options.
Statoil’s history in renewables: The company has had small interests in renewables for a number of years. The encouraging news is that a number of its green investments are in wind-related resources. It recently acquired a 70% interest in the Dudgeon wind project in the U.K. It also has joint ownership of the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway cuts ties with two Malaysian forestry companies

Posted on 18 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway has blacklisted two Malaysian timber companies after an investigation brought to light the environmental havoc they have wreaked on Borneo’s tropical forests. On Saturday, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) — the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund — announced it has sold stakes in WTK Holdings Berhad and Ta Ann Holdings Berhad, Malaysian companies with extensive logging operations and timber plantations.
The decision is based on recommendations from the fund’s Council on Ethics, which conducted an investigation that found “unacceptable risk” of large-scale forest destruction, non-compliance with environmental laws, and poor forest management practices………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund gives a boost to global renewable energy

Posted on 17 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is the largest in the world at around $750 billion, and a new government is currently being formed in Oslo that is considering investing some of the wealth in renewable energy projects across the world.
Formed in 1990, the fund generates money from taxes on Norway’s oil and gas industry, as well as owning several fields in the North Sea, and a 67% stake in Statoil. It also owns large shares in many of Europe’s largest companies, and it has been calculated that one in every $80 invested in equities around the world is owned by Norway, giving the fund massive influence over the global financial market………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway bars five firms from its wealth fund

Posted on 16 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway excluded five companies from the investments of the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, for taking part in activities that damage the environment or for being linked to child labour.
Malaysia’s WTK Holdings Bhd and Ta Ann Holdings Bhd were excluded alongside China’s Zijin Mining Group and Peru’s Volcan Cia Minera SAA on the basis that their activities risk causing severe damage to the environment, the Oslo-based ministry said on Monday. India’s Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd was also excluded “based on an assessment of the risk of contributing to the worst forms of child labour”, it added………………………………………..Full Article: Source

CIC, RRJ invest in China-focused water treatment firm SIIC Environment

Posted on 15 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

China-focused water treatment company SIIC Environment Holdings Ltd is raising S$260.2 million ($208.7 million) by selling new shares to investors including Chinese sovereign wealth fund CIC and private equity firm RRJ Capital.
Singapore-listed water companies have been attracting big-name investors as they profit from exporting their expertise to China, which plans to spend $850 billion over the next decade to improve its scarce and polluted water supplies………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway oil fund to sell holdings on environmental concerns

Posted on 15 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s government has told its $790 billion oil fund to sell holdings in five companies because of environmental issues and expressed concern over others, including Shell and Eni, the finance ministry said on Monday.
The fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, is barred from investing in WTK Holdings Berhad, Ta Ann Holdings Berhad, Zijin Mining Group and Volcan Compania Minera because their activities pose a “risk of severe environmental damage”, it said in a statement. But contrary to the recommendation of its Ethic Council, the government did not place Royal Dutch Shell and Eni on its watch list for possible exclusion and instead asked the fund to place a greater emphasis on scrutinising their activities in the Niger Delta………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway blacklists 2 Malaysian logging companies for ’severe environmental damage’ in Borneo

Posted on 15 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $760 billion pension fund has divested from two Malaysian forestry companies due to ’severe environmental damage’. On Saturday, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) — the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund — announced it has sold stakes in WTK Holdings Berhad and Ta Ann Holdings Berhad, Malaysian companies with extensive logging operations and timber plantations.
The decision is based on recommendations from the fund’s Council on Ethics, which conducted an investigation that found “unacceptable risk” of large-scale forest destruction, non-compliance with environmental laws, and poor forest management practices………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s billions could go into renewables

Posted on 15 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway is sitting on a huge pot on money – and a new government now being formed in the country is considering investing some of that vast stock of wealth in renewable energy projects around the world.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) wants the Norwegian fund to allocate 5% of its portfolio to direct investments in renewable energy infrastructure and projects – and to end its investments in coal and tar sands. The fund – officially known as the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, which up to 2006 was called the Petroleum Fund of Norway – was formed in 1990 and makes its money through taxes from Norway’s substantial oil and gas sector………………………………………..Full Article: Source

$760bln Norwegian oil fund considering boosting sustainable investments

Posted on 14 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund of Norway (GPF), could begin investing in renewable energy.
The country’s newly-formed minority conservative government, which recently ousted the Labour party in the general election, this week released its official platform and pledged to invest some of the GPF money sustainably. The GPF owns around 1.25% of the world’s stocks and is valued at a reported $760 billion………………………………………..Full Article: Source

World’s largest wealth fund may become large green energy investor

Posted on 10 October 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s new – not yet appointed – Prime Minister, Erna Solberg of the Conservative Party, may at first instance appear less occupied by global issues like climate change than her predecessor Jens Stoltenberg of the Labour party.
But on a few critical climate issues she looks like more of a reformer than Mr Stoltenberg, in particular when it comes to what role Norway’s enormous Sovereign Wealth Fund could play in financing the transition to a low-carbon economy. In the New Government’s programme revealed this week, the coalition partners made the following statements regarding the $720bn sovereign wealth fund:……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Norwegian Ethics Council Chair Mestad cautions on insincere ESG compliance

Posted on 27 September 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Currently, Ola Mestad is the chair of the Council on Ethics for Norway’s Government Pension Global (GPFG) and a professor of law at the University of Oslo. It has been reported that Ola Mestad is not as enthusiastic about the efficacy of Norway’ sovereign wealth fund in recent days, specifically its responsible investment criteria.
The ethics council has a list of companies to be excluded from the sovereign wealth fund’s investment universe. Some of the companies on the exclusion list include Fortune 500 companies like Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Wal-Mart Stores and Boeing Co. In addition, a number of excluded companies have substantial public funds as investors such as Rio Tinto Plc and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Future fund to benefit infrastructure and kids, promises SA Government

Posted on 25 September 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The South Australian Government has detailed plans to set up a future fund for the state. Premier Jay Weatherill said contributions would be made to the fund only when the budget was in surplus.
The Government hopes the first injection of $20 million from mining royalties will be made into the fund in 2015-16. Mr Weatherill said the money would be spent on infrastructure and on programs to benefit the development of children………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Major flaws in $760bln oil fund’s approach to climate change and sustainable investment

Posted on 16 August 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The ethical footprint of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund is “severely limited” according to a major new review of its investment strategy. The Government Pension Fund of Norway (GPF), also known as the ‘oil fund’, owns around 1.25% of the world’s stocks and is valued at a reported $760 billion. It is owned by the state and funded primarily by surplus wealth from the country’s petroleum industry.
But an investigation by the thinktank Re-Define, commissioned by Norwegian Church Aid, has found what it calls “serious deficiencies” in the fund’s investment strategy. Researchers claim it is lagging behind many of its peers on a number of issues, including ethical investment and sustainability………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Temasek sells its entire stake in China’s Huaneng Renewables

Posted on 23 July 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state-owned investment company, sold its 5.34 percent stake in Huaneng Renewables Corp. on July 18.
Temasek sold 155.5 million shares at an average HK$2.8 (36 U.S. cents) each, according to a Hong Kong exchange filing. FIL Ltd. this month bought 3.14 million shares in Huaneng Renewables at the same price, raising its stake to 13.11 percent………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norwegian savings invested in the world’s climate crisis

Posted on 28 June 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund - the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) - is invested in 147 of the world’s 200 companies holding the largest reserves in coal, oil and gas. The fund’s share of those reserves is equivalent to 108 times Norway’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis from WWF.
The fund is currently invested in more fossil fuels than can ever be burned if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. The London-based think tank, the Carbon Tracker Initiative, recently released a report listing the 200 companies in the world with the largest fossil fuel reserves. WWF has analyzed Norway’s investments in this list of companies through the GPFG………………………………………..Full Article: Source

NZ Super Fund reveals excluded companies

Posted on 21 June 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has excluded seven companies with operations in nuclear bases from its $NZ22 billion ($A18.56 billion) portfolio, while clearing the return for four firms which had previously been excluded for their involvement in cluster munitions.
The Cullen Fund, so-called for its architect former Finance Minister Michael Cullen, will exclude public companies Babcock & Wilcox, Fluor Corp, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Jacobs Engineering Group, Serco Group and URS Corp, having sold its $NZ2.2 million ($A1.86 million) holdings in those firms, it said in a statement………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norwegian Parliament calls for stronger implementation of no-deforestation policy for investments

Posted on 13 June 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $700 billion sovereign wealth fund last year stepped up its no-deforestation policy, asking portfolio companies to disclose their impacts on tropical forests as part of the fund’s risk management strategy related to climate change. It divested from 23 palm oil companies found to be non-compliant with its policy.
Now the Norwegian Parliament is calling for stricter criteria, including a provision that tree plantations should not count as regrowth of natural forest………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar to invest $500 mln in India after Bush acquisition

Posted on 10 June 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hassad Food Co., the agricultural investment arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, plans to invest $500 million in India after buying Bush Foods Overseas Ltd.
The investment will be in the production of rice, coffee, cardamom and “ready-made foods,” Chairman Nasser Mohamed Al Hajri told reporters today in Doha. Hassad said on April 3 that it agreed to buy a majority stake in Bush, which owns basmati rice brands Neesa, Himalayan Crown and Indian Star………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hassad ‘can meet 60pct of Qatar’s food needs now’

Posted on 10 June 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hassad Food Company (HFC) can meet around 60% of Qatar’s total food needs as a result of the massive investments it has made abroad, top officials said. The food produced and procured by the government-owned company comprises meat, poultry, fish, grains, sugar, vegetables, fruits and processed items, company chairman Nasser bin Mohamed al-Fahid al-Hajri said.
“Our company has expanded its global footprint over the last five years. We now have the capacity to provide for 60% of Qatar’s food requirements.” HFC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Holding which is one of the operating arms of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Super Fund sells nuclear investments

Posted on 10 June 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has excluded a group of companies from its $22 billion investment portfolio because of their work with nuclear weapons. Publicly listed companies Babcock & Wilcox, Fluor Corporation, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Jacobs Engineering Group, Serco Group and URS Corporation, have been excluded under the fund’s Responsible Investment Policy.
Private company Bechtel Group, which the fund does not have holdings in, will also be excluded. Lockheed Martin, the publicly-listed weapons maker, was previously excluded on the same grounds………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Future Fund should dump coal: Greens

Posted on 07 June 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The federal government’s Future Fund shouldn’t be investing in coal assets, the Australian Greens says.The minor party has announced a campaign to push the $85 billion fund - which was set up to cover public sector superannuation liabilities - to offload its investments in fossil-fuel industries like coal.
“Why would you invest in the very commodity that is wrecking the climate and which has, in the longer term, huge potential losses for anyone who invests in it,” Greens Leader Christine Milne told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.The Greens are hoping to match the success of their anti-tobacco push, which led to the Future Fund dumping its $222 million tobacco-related investments…………………………………….Full Article: Source

Norway oil fund may sell out of mines that mistreat workers

Posted on 31 May 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $740-billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, is examining labour conditions in the mining industry and may sell out of firms that violate workers’ rights, the head of the fund’s ethics council said.
The fund could also divest from companies involved in cattle ranching, if working conditions on farms are exploitative, and from firms implicated in illegal or unregulated fishing………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s Government Pension Fund not addressing climate change

Posted on 31 May 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s Government Pension Fund has neglected to apply best practice in sustainable investments and is not yet fully addressing the impacts of global warming, according to the World Wildlife Fund, Norway (WWF-Norway). The fund, which is based on petroleum revenues, is currently estimated at $381bn, and is the world’s second largest sovereign wealth fund. More than one per cent of all European stocks are owned by Norway’s Government Pension Fund.
Rasmus Hansson, CEO of WWF-Norway, commented: “Loaded with petroleum cash, Norway has a special responsibility in low carbon development and to help mitigate impacts from global warming on hundreds of millions of the world’s poor………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway oil fund may divest from mines that mistreat workers

Posted on 30 May 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s $740-billion (U.S.) sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, is examining labour conditions in the mining industry and may sell out of firms that violate workers’ rights, the head of the fund’s ethics council said.
The fund could also divest from companies involved in cattle ranching, if working conditions on farms are exploitative, and from firms implicated in illegal or unregulated fishing………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway oil fund rebuked over OECD guidelines breach

Posted on 28 May 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s oil fund will on Monday be officially rebuked for violating OECD guidelines over its investment in South Korean steelmaker Posco, in an embarrassment for the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.
In a sign of the growing scrutiny the Norwegian government-backed fund is facing, the local contact point for the OECD guidelines on multinational enterprises will conclude that it “lacks a strategy for identifying and handling possible violations of human rights in the company [it] invests [in]”……………………………………..Full Article: Source

OECD monitor criticises Norway wealth fund on ethical investment policy

Posted on 28 May 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has no strategy for dealing with possible violations of human rights by the companies in which it invests, an independent committee set up to safeguard OECD ethical guidelines said.
The Norwegian committee pointed to the fund’s investment in South Korean steel maker POSCO, which plans to build a $12 billion steel plant in India, saying the fund was not doing enough to protect against human rights breaches……………………………………..Full Article: Source

Green sovereign wealth

Posted on 15 May 2013 by admin  |  Email |Print

At the end of 2011, sovereign-wealth funds’ assets under management amounted to $3 trillion, following 237 direct investments worth $81 billion that year. Some experts even estimate SWFs’ assets to be worth $6 trillion. This means that SWFs, the avatars of state capitalism, are now twice as rich as the world’s hedge funds, the totems of liberal capitalism’s excesses.
The growing might of SWFs is causing concern - and, in some cases, inciting virulent criticism - particularly in host OECD countries, where many fear the redistribution of financial, economic, and political power to emerging countries that have very different political regimes from their own. In fact, of the seven SWFs that control more than two-thirds of all SWFs’ assets, three are from Asia (one from China and two from Singapore) and three are from the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Qatar)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Superannuation Fund blacklists mining firms

Posted on 14 May 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has sold its stakes in Barrick Gold and one of its subsidiaries over human rights and environmental concerns, and has blacklisted the firms.
The sovereign wealth fund said the global miner’s operations in Papua New Guinea and Tanzania conflicted with the standards contained in the UN Global Compact, and recent efforts by the company to change its ways appeared to have little chance of succeeding………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway excludes Schweitzer-Maudit and Huabao from wealth fund

Posted on 09 May 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, the world’s largest, excluded Schweitzer-Mauduit International Inc. (SWM) and Huabao International Holdings Ltd. (336) from its portfolio because of their involvement in tobacco production.
The $740 billion Government Pension Fund Global sold its shares in both companies because they produce reconstituted tobacco leaf, or RTL, the Finance Ministry said in a statement today. The ministry, which sets the investment guidelines for the Oslo-based fund, excluded the groups based on the recommendation of the Council of Ethics………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Norway’s fund excludes RTL firms

Posted on 09 May 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global divested its interests in both companies because the two companies produce reconstituted tobacco leaf or RTL. In a statement, the two firms were excluded from the US$740 billion portfolio after the Council of Ethics recommended their removal for that specific reason.
It said, “The council underlines that RTL primarily is made from tobacco plant and therefore must be regarded as a tobacco plant. The two companies concerned state in their annual reports and investor presentations that they produce RTL.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Norwegian Pension Fund to divest from Equatorial Guinea oil operations

Posted on 29 April 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Norway has revealed plans to sell all shares owned by its sovereign wealth fund - Norwegian Pension Fund Global - in oil firms with operations in Equatorial Guinea.
“We are looking into the oil companies in which we hold shares and which are active in Equatorial Guinea,” Reuters quoted Ola Mestad, the head of the fund’s ethics council, as saying.Norway’s sovereign wealth fund attributed its resolve to the fact that oil money from these companies failed to tackle abject poverty in the country.The fund’s ethics council’s annual report states that the production of the country’s dominant natural resource seems to enrich only the country’s elite, leaving the conditions of the entire population in worst state in the world………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil fund questions oil giant’s ethics

Posted on 25 April 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The state-appointed ethics council that oversees investments made by Norway’s huge oil-fueled sovereign wealth fund is questioning whether operations by US oil giant ExxonMobil in Equatorial Guinea violate “fundamental ethical norms.” If so, the fund may need to sell off its ExxonMobil stock.
The council is charged with evaluating investments in individual companies in which Norway’s popularly called “oil fund” has stakes. The Norwegian finance ministry, ultimately in charge of the fund that’s tied to Norway’s central bank and long has ranked as one of the biggest investment funds in the world, makes its decisions based on the council’s recommendations………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Azerbaijani State Oil Fund to allocate AZN 30 mln for students’ education abroad this year

Posted on 25 April 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The State Oil Fund will allocate AZN 30 million for the education of Azerbaijani students abroad this year, said Minister of Education Misir Mardanov in his speech at the presentation ceremony on the development of Information Management System and new website regarding “State Program on education of Azerbaijan youth abroad in 2007-2015” held in the Ministry of Education, APA reports.
He said the funds for the education of Azerbaijani youth abroad are increased every year. The Minister said while this amount was AZN 20 million last year, it is expected to be AZN 30 million this year: “When started the implementation of program, we thought how we would afford its implementation. However, now we are concerned how to effectively spend so much money.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Mumtalakat supports the palm association

Posted on 15 April 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company (Mumtalakat), the investment arm of the Kingdom of Bahrain, announces its support to the Palm Association. The association raises funding with the aim of helping needy Bahraini families and making a difference in their lives by providing food parcels, educational sponsorships and home improvements.
Mumtalakat is proud to be associated with this Association and to donate BD7,000. The donation will support projects that the Palm Association undertakes each month, amongst which the cornerstone Feed-a-Family programme, which distributes approximately 155 food parcels to the value of BD20 every month to Bahraini families who have fallen on hard times………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Khazanah sees up to 10pct more CR funding in 2013

Posted on 08 April 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Khazanah Nasional Bhd expects its corporate responsibility (CR) funding to see a 5% to 10% increase this year from RM62.4 million in 2012, said its managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar. Since 2004, total funding for Khazanah’s CR initiatives amounted to RM255 million, benefiting over 500,000 individuals nationwide.
Khazanah’s CR initiatives aim to build sustainable value by balancing its investment, social and environmental responsibilities. Four key focus areas that form Khazanah’s CR framework are responsible investments and value creation, human capital development, social capital development and environmental stewardship as well as Silver Book and CR advocacy………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar’s Hassad Food buys majority stake in Bush Foods

Posted on 04 April 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Leading basmati rice company Bush Foods Overseas Ltd today said it has sold majority stake in the company to Qatar-based investment firm Hassad Food for more than $ 100 million.
Hassad Food Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Holding, which is part of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). It invests in agriculture and livestock sectors. Bush Foods sells basmati rice under ‘Neesa’ brand. It has a facility in Haryana with an annual capacity of 1.7-2 lakh tonnes. It posted a turnover of Rs 1,340 crore in last fiscal………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Australia’s Future Fund stubs out tobacco

Posted on 02 April 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Australia’s Future Fund has extinguished its tobacco industry stakes. Announced in February, the move had been widely anticipated since David Gonski, chairman of the A$82.4 billion ($85.5 billion) sovereign wealth fund’s board of guardians, said last October that the board would review these holdings.
The $222 million divestment may carry extra symbolic weight given that Australia recently became the first country to enforce strict plain-packaging laws for cigarettes and other tobacco products. Although the Future Fund held 14 individual positions in tobacco producers, including Altria, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Lorillard, they added up to just 0.3 percent of its assets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Karuturi to borrow from sovereign fund after first Ethiopia crop

Posted on 02 April 2013 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Karuturi Global Ltd. (KARG), the world’s largest rose grower, said it will borrow more than $100 million from a sovereign wealth fund to invest in farming in East Africa after selling its first produce from a plantation in Ethiopia.
The company, based in Bangalore, India, produced 21,000 metric tons of corn in the last quarter of 2012 that sold for about $6.5 million in Ethiopia, Managing Director Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi said in a phone interview on March 27. The harvest, grown on its plantation in western Ethiopia, showed the project was “not a disaster” after floods destroyed a 60,000- ton corn crop in September 2011, he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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