World's biggest wealth fund dumps 15 stocks on ethical grounds thumbnail

World’s biggest wealth fund dumps 15 stocks on ethical grounds

Norway’s $1.3-trillion wealth fund blacklisted 15 companies last year, including Glencore, as part of the world’s biggest sovereign investor’s efforts to fight unethical conduct at some of the most powerful corporations.

Other companies added to the Oslo-based fund’s exclusion list in 2020 were RWE, Canadian Natural Resources and Anglo American, the investing behemoth said in a report on Thursday.

“We divest from companies where we no longer wish to be a shareholder for ethical or sustainability reasons,” the fund said. “By not investing in these companies, we reduce our exposure to unacceptable risks.”

The fund said the 15 stocks it excluded from its portfolio last year were singled out based on ethical considerations ranging from corruption, to human rights violation as well as severe environmental damage. It exited another 32 firms due to its assessment of basic environmental, social and governance risks, it said.

The Oslo-based fund generated $123 billion in returns in 2020, marking its second-best performance ever thanks in large part to tech stocks. But Nicolai Tangen, chief executive since September, said last month he doesn’t expect the stimulus-driven surge in equity markets to continue.

Some of the fund’s biggest losses last year were tied to its holdings of oil stocks, and Tangen has made clear he wants to focus more on sustainability to fight everything from pollution, to corruption and sexism.

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