The world's largest sovereign wealth fund is getting stricter on the companies it invests in

  • Businesses should integrate ocean sustainability into strategy, according to Norges Bank Investment Management.
  • Firms should also disclose how ocean sustainability forms part of their strategies, policies and commitments.
plastic bottle on beach
Barbara Fischer, Australia. | Moment | Getty Images

Norway's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund has said that it expects businesses to "manage the challenges and opportunities related to sustainable uses of the ocean."

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages Norway's sovereign wealth fund on behalf of the finance ministry, said Wednesday that companies should, among other things: integrate ocean sustainability into strategy; integrate material ocean-related risks into risk management; and act responsibly and transparently on ocean-related governance.

Businesses should also, NBIM said, "disclose how ocean sustainability forms part of their strategies, policies and commitments."

The issue of ocean pollution is a serious one. To give just one example, more than 700 species "encounter marine litter in the environment" according to the University of Plymouth's International Marine Litter Research Unit.

"The ocean is a vital part of the biosphere and an important part of the global economy," Yngve Slyngstad, NBIM's CEO, said in a statement on Wednesday. "We expect companies to manage the challenges and opportunities related to sustainable use of the ocean," Slyngstad added.

Wednesday also saw NBIM publish a note relating to how it, as a responsible investor, could support sustainable development and help "fulfil the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."

The UN's goals address a host of subjects, including the environment, poverty, climate change and gender equality.

"The fund's investments in more than 9,000 companies in 72 countries contribute directly and indirectly to a number of the SDGs," Slyngstad said. "Our most important contribution is to strengthen governance, improve performance and promote sustainable business practices," he added.

The fund, Slyngstad said, invested in developing markets and businesses that were coming up with solutions for a "more environmentally friendly economy." It also divested from companies that had "unsustainable business models."