More firms banned as the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund tries to go ethical

Key Points
  • Norway's sovereign wealth fund is currently worth around $1.1 trillion
  • It is increasing the list of firms it will not invest in
  • Despite Norway's oil industry the fund is also set to end investment in the sector
An offshore oil rig off the coast of Norway.
Nerijus Adomaitis | Reuters

Norway's $1.1 trillion sovereign wealth fund has axed investments in another nine companies as it tries to move to what it considers as ethical investments.

The most high-profile firm to be pulled from the fund's collective investment is U.K. defense company BAE Systems, which said via email Tuesday that it respected "the right of investors to make investment decisions against their own criteria".

Norges Bank, which administrates the fund on behalf of the Norwegian government, said it had also decided to exclude U.S. engineering firms AECOM and Fluor, as well as shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries.

An earlier ban on U.S. firm Honeywell was also upheld.

For all of those firms, involvement in the production of nuclear weapons was the reason Norges Bank gave for the bans.

Shipping companies Evergreen Marine, Korea Line, Precious Shipping and Thoresen Thai Agencies were excluded because their operations risked "severe environmental damage and serious or systematic violations of human rights." Pan Ocean was placed under observation because of the same concern.

Polish property developer Atal was also pushed out because of "human rights risks."

High-profile firms already on the fund's banned list include Boeing, Walmart, Philip Morris and Rio Tinto.

The world's largest sovereign wealth fund said in November 2017 that it would drop oil and gas companies from its benchmark index. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Norway is the world's 15th largest producer of oil.