We all thought it was typically Norwegian to be best, as then PM Gro Harlem Brundtland put it in the early 90s. Still, our ravingly clever leaders see it as downright impossible - what the Americans and the Swedes are managing perfectly.
For the Government, the National Bank and the Ministry of Finance all sing the same tune: Implementing ethical guidelines for the Oil Fund is too difficult and too risky. By us, but not by others:
The Swedish “Sjunde AP” fund last year withdrew 27 companies from its portfolio. The no. 2 US pension fund, Calpers, last year withdrew its investments from the Philippines, Indonisia, Malaysia and Thailand. The stock markets in Asia were up and flying, but the countries did not meet the fund’s ethical guidlines. Calpers manages 1190 billion NOK. The Oil Fund was worth 625 billion NOK as of March 31st this year.
When confronted, the Norwegian Government clinges to the Petroluem Fund’s peoples rights counsil, and its juridical evaluations of a small number of investments, and how those meet our obligations in terms of international treaties. Even if this is a good thing, these agreements are merely diplomatic compromises. A morally decent investment policy cannot come from there.
The Government and Parliament must make a political choice, and agree to implement ethical guidelines for the Oli Fund!
Norwatch Newsletter 5-6/02