Norway’s fund divests from coal and tar-sands

As the Wall Street Journal reported Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund – which was built on the country’s oil and gas revenues – is divesting from fossil fuels companies producing coal and tar-sands.

Here is the intro of this article :

Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund on Thursday said it divested itself from 49 risky assets in 2014 due to uncertainty about the sustainability of their business models.

(…) “We have gradually increased the scope of risk-based divestments, both geographically and thematically,” said the fund’s Chief Executive Yngve Slyngstad. “In total, we have divested from 114 companies in the past three years.”

Out of those divestments, 43 were exited due to the risk of deforestation, 35 due to water management issues, 22 on climate-related risks, and 14 companies were divested due to other, unnamed risks, the fund said.

The figures were published in the fund’s first report on responsible investment.

The $861 billion fund said it conducts risk assessments at company, sector and country level, and that it reviewed last year the impact of oil sands production on climate change and water management, the climate impact of coal-based electricity production, and the sustainability of mining and paper companies.

Now that’s ironic and even iconic. Imagine : this money comes from fossil fuels and acknowledges that the very same fossil fuels are now a risk, a liability… This is a really powerful message.

The fund manages to date up to 861 billion US Dollars (or 762 billion euros), making it the world’s biggest sovereign fund. The fact that it divests from coal, the most emitting fossil fuel and the environmental ennemy number one is a great news. It sure will give a lot of momentum to the divestment movement.

Coal is a goner. It is more and more expensive to get if out of the ground, carbon taxes or cap-and-trade programs are sprouting in new countries each quarter… All in all, investing nowadays in fossil fuels is a really risky bet I wouldn’t advocate. And if you need just more than my personal opinion, please have a look at this previous article : 15 reasons to divest from oil as soon as you can.


Image credits : Lofoten islands, Norway. Flickr

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