Textron and Barrick Gold excluded from Norway’s Government Pension Fund

Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen. Photo Regeringen.

Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen. Photo Regeringen.Based on a recommendation from the Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund – Global, the Ministry of Finance has excluded the American company Textron Inc. Corporation from the Fund. "The company produces cluster weapons, which are banned pursuant to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. We cannot participate in the funding of this type of production," says finance minister Kristin Halvorsen.

The Ministry has also excluded the Canadian mining company Barrick Gold Corporation (the largest producer of gold in the world, with 27 mines in operation) from the Fund. Barrick mines for gold in the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea. The recommendation is based on the assessment that investing in the company entails an unacceptable risk of the Fund contributing to serious environmental damage.

Since the Ethical Guidelines for the Pension Fund – Global came into force, the Ministry of Finance has excluded nine producers of cluster weapons from the investment universe of the Fund, on the basis of recommendations from the Council on Ethics.

The Council on Ethics bases its recommendation to exclude Textron on the new international treaty banning cluster weapons. The Convention was signed in December 2008.

“In 2008, an international convention to ban cluster munitions has been negotiated. The convention’s technical definition of what constitutes cluster munitions is largely in line with the criteria the Council applied in 2005, but in some areas it is more stringent. This implies that production of munitions which have previously not qualified for recommendation of exclusion may fall inside the treaty’s definition of cluster munitions. The Council on Ethics finds it appropriate to base future recommendations of exclusion on the definitions provided in the cluster munitions convention”.

The Council on Ethics studied information on Textron’s website, where the cluster weapon in question is described in detail. The company has stated that the weapon satisfies several of the criteria for acceptable cluster weapons pursuant to the Cluster Munitions Convention, but not all of them. Against this background, the Council on Ethics recommends that the company be excluded from the investment universe of the fund.

On 29 October, the Ministry of Finance instructed Norges Bank that Textron Inc. Corporation was to be excluded from the Government Pension Fund – Global, with a time limit for selling the shares of 31 December. The shares in the company have now all been sold. According to Norges Bank, before selling the shares, the Fund owned shares in the company worth almost NOK 249 million. The decision to sell is made public after the shares have been sold, so as not to affect the sale.

Read more on Regjeringen.no.

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