Saturday, May 05, 2007

Norway divests US Corporations as Unethical

Norway has decided that they aren't going to invest their nation's oil revenues into businesses they consider unethical. It's hard to argue with that.
Norway has amassed a fortune of more than $300 billion over the last decade, thanks to its profits from oil exports. Yet few countries are more ambivalent about their vast wealth than this modest, socially conscious society of less than five million people.

So rather than managing their monstrous nest egg simply for the best returns, the reluctant billionaires of Norway are using the money to advance an ambitious ethical code they established in 2004 for their oil reserve, known as the Government Pension Fund.

Norwegian officials reject the criticism, saying they have devised a policy that compares well with major funds in Europe and the United States that practice so-called socially responsible investing. “We’ve managed to combine professional fund management with an ethical approach,” said Kristin Halvorsen, the Norwegian finance minister. “We see them as two sides of the same coin.”

Socially responsible investing, she said, has not hindered the fund’s performance. In 2006, it generated a return of 7.9 percent, a shade higher than the government’s target.

Ms. Halvorsen is an unlikely choice to oversee one of the world’s richest funds. She is the leader of the Socialist Left Party, which draws support from students, teachers and left-leaning intellectuals.|Norway Keeps Nest Egg From Some U.S. Companies - New York Times |(emphasis added)

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