Norway Pension Fund Reinstates Thales and DRD Gold
On the basis of the Council on Ethics’ recommendation, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance decided Sept. 3 to reverse its previous decisions to exclude the companies Thales SA and DRD Gold Limited from the investment universe of the Government Pension Fund – Global. The reason for their reinstatement is that the companies are no longer involved in the activities that formed the basis for their exclusion.
Thales SA was excluded in 2005 on the grounds that the company was involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions. Cluster munitions fall within the category of weapons that the Pension Fund is not allowed to invest in, according to the Ethical Guidelines, i.e. weapons that violate fundamental humanitarian principles in their normal use.
The Council on Ethics has found that the grounds for exclusion are no longer valid, because Thales no longer has any form of involvement in the manufacture of cluster munitions in any country. Against this background, the Council on Ethics recommends that Thales no longer be excluded from the investment universe of the Government Pension Fund – Global. The Ministry of Finance has decided to follow the Council on Ethics’ recommendation.
DRD Gold Limited was excluded in 2007 pursuant to the criterion on severe environmental damages. The backdrop was that the company through one of its subsidiaries was involved in gold mining in Papua New Guinea, where tailings from the mine were deposited into a natural river system. This method of waste disposal was found to cause extensive and severe environmental degradation and have serious negative consequences for the lives and health of the local population.
DRD Gold Limited is no longer involved in the mine in question. Against this background, the Council on Ethics recommends that the company no longer be excluded, as the grounds for exclusion are no longer valid. The Ministry of Finance has decided to follow the Council on Ethics’ recommendation.