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Sunday 25 August 2019

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Norway’s govt fund raised ESG issues at 1500 meetings

Written by Sunniva Kolostyak
07/02/2019

Norges Bank Investment Manager (NBIM), which manages the €891.1bn Government Pension Fund Global, discussed its expectations for environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies at almost 1500 company meetings in 2018.

The manager said its expectations and positions provide a basis for prioritising its work and for engaging with the companies in which the fund is invested on their governance and long-term business models.

NBIM raised ESG issues at 1,493 meetings in the past year, engaging with companies on banks’ climate disclosure, lending and deforestation, tax and transparency at UK companies and the marketing of breast-milk substitutes. It has also had dialogue with companies on marine pollution and their anti-corruption efforts.

“As a long-term owner we prioritise strategic topics that we follow up over a number of years,” the manager wrote in a statement.

NBIM chief corporate governance officer Carine Smith Ihenacho said: “Some new issues are emerging from the transition to a low-carbon economy. In 2018 we engaged in dialogue with companies in the automotive sector that use cobalt as a component of lithium batteries.

“We contacted companies to understand their low-emission plans and how they are managing the risk of human rights violations in their supply chains.”

The manager published three new positions in 2018, including expectations on ocean sustainability and anti-corruption, and is leading a working group of the UN Global Compact, developing international principles for ocean sustainability.

NBIM CEO Yngve Slyngstad said its dialogue with companies and their boards is one of the most important tools NBIM has as owners.

“We have interacted with boards through dialogue and voting. We expect the board to have sufficient expertise, capacity and independence from management to fulfil its duties,” he said.



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