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Simultaneously with the Tupinikim and Guarani Indians’ visit to Norway to protest against Aracruz Celulose, the Indians’ land conflict with Mr. Erling Lorentzen’s company is being carefully studied by the Advisory Council on Ethics for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global. The Ministry of Finance’s final decision in the Aracruz case is now dependent on the developments in process in Brazil.
The Norwegian drilling company Frontier Drilling has landed on the list of ill-reputed companies operating in Burma. The company has carried out drilling operations for the Korean firm Daewoo in the Shwe field offshore Burma. The company wants to say as little as possible about the assignment.
The network company Green Planet International invites its members to save the environment, fight poverty, and at the same time earn money. Access to the company’s projects in the developing world is close to zero. According to the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority, the company operates in a grey area not affected by the ban on pyramid games.
Green Planet International has an extremely complicated structure but has a simple message to its potential members. The world faces an extensive environmental crisis and great poverty problems. In contrast to traditional aid, anyone with relative limited means can contribute to development for both the poor and the rich.
Cluster weapons are becoming an unpopular investment. This autumn the Norwegian Government Pension Fund withdrew from seven companies that produce cluster weapons, including EADS. In the meantime EADS has gotten out of the cluster weapons company TDA, but it continues to produce nuclear weapons.
The Oil Fund’s investment in tobacco has increased by more than 40%, to US$ 1 billion, Norwatch found on examining the fund’s new portfolio. The investment in arms has, for its part, decreased strongly: the Oil Fund has withdrawn from nine of the largest arms producers in the world.
An Indian parliamentarian has accused Norske Skog of participating in illegal cartel and monopoly activities in India and of having contributed to a doubling of the price of paper in the country. The company rejects the accusations as absurd.
The leader of the Oil Fund’s ethical council, Gro Nystuen, denies that the Burma regime accomplice Total is being retained in the Oil Fund because it is a major company on Norwegian continental shelf. “The accusation is self-contradictory”, Nystuen told Norwatch. She emphasises that if new information should turn up, the case can be reconsidered.
The explanations of the Swedish Nobel Institute with regard to the lack of ethical guidelines for the investment of the Nobel assets differ totally. Financial Manager Åke Altéus now admits to Norwatch that they have never given fund managers verbal ethical guidelines.
Aker Kværner, which has received much criticism for its involvement in the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo, has confirmed to Norwatch that all its staff and equipment have been withdrawn from the area.
The Nobel Foundation has invested in an ethical quagmire. The foundation has no ethical guidelines, keeps its portfolio secret, and trusts its investment managers blindly. As a result, the Nobel prizes may as well be financed by cluster bombs as by controversial gene technology.
“The great stream of corruption flows from the North to the South. The Western world has placed a straw into the resources of the Third World. Today’s system of corruption has definite characteristics that resemble a modern form of colonialism and constitutes one of the biggest obstacles for development in the Third World”, says corruption hunter and special advisor, Eva Joly, to Norwatch.
Three months after awarding a prize to President Meles Zenawi for his commitment to agriculture, Yara International won major fertilizer contracts in Ethiopia.
In South Africa’s Sheba mine gold thieves are shot and killed, without the police investigating the mining company. Norwatch has visited the partly Norwegian-owned gold mine, where trigger-happy conditions exist.
A Norwegian-owned fish-farming company is accused of taking advantage of South African fishermen. “We were used as an alibi to obtain local anchorage when the Norwegians applied for a farming licence”, the fishing company Rowmoor told Norwatch.