Norway's wealth fund says ethics profile has cost $1.4 billion in a decade


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UPDATE 2-Norway's wealth fund says ethics profile has cost $1.4 billion in a decade


* Not investing in tobacco, weapons biggest losses for the
fund
    * Fund still keen on certain green investments - CEO

 (Adds CEO quotes on green investments)
    By Gwladys FoucheOSLO, March 21 (Reuters) - Norway's$915-billion sovereign
wealth fund, the world's largest, has earned less money because
of divestments it has made over the past decade due to ethical
and environmental considerations, it said on Tuesday.
    Still, the fund's CEO told Reuters the fund would bank on
certain type of green investments in the future as they were
attractive.
    The fund funnels the proceeds of Norway's oil and gas
production. It invests in close to 9,000 companies worldwide, as
well as bonds and property.
    It is forbidden by law from investing in firms that produce
nuclear weapons or landmines, or are involved in serious and
systematic human rights violations, among other criteria.
    The fund returned 1.11 percentage points less between 2006
and 2016 as a result of exclusions of companies on ethical
grounds, according to a report it published on Tuesday.
    The loss was about 12 billion crowns, or $1.42 billion, for
the decade, said fund CEO Yngve Slyngstad, though he added that
he would not want the fund to be allowed to invest again in
those companies.
    "There is a broad consensus among Norwegians that the fund
should not earn money from companies that take people's lives,"
he told reporters.
    Some 65 companies are excluded on ethical grounds, based on
the recommendation of the fund's ethical watchdog, the Council
on Ethics. Another 69 firms are excluded directly by the fund
based on their dependence on thermal coal.
    The biggest loss of 1.16 percentage points was caused by not
being invested in tobacco producers, followed by manufacturers
of specific weapons, such as nuclear weapons, cluster munitions
and anti-personnel landmines.
    But there was an upside on some types of investments.
    By being divested from companies that cause severe
environmental damage, for example some coal mining firms and
those that fell rainforests, the fund earned 0.78 of a
percentage point more than if it had stayed invested in those
companies, the report said.
    Slyngstad later told Reuters that the fund would
particularly focus on two types of green investments in the
future: natural resource management, such as waste management,
and environmental technology, such as batteries for cars.
    "(These two) are probably more interesting for us and we are
still looking for more external managers (to look after these
investments)," Slyngstad said in an interview, adding that
natural resource management in particular had had "very good"
results for the fund.
    ($1 = 8.4449 Norwegian crowns)

 (Editing by Ed Osmond)
 ((gwladys.fouche@tr.com; +47 23 31 65 94; Reuters Messaging:
gwladys.fouche.reuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter handle:
@gfouche))

Keywords: NORWAY SWF/ (UPDATE 2)



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