Sovereign Wealth Funds as a New Instrument of Climate Protection Policy? A Case Study of Norway as a Pioneer of Ethical Guidelines for Investment Policy
Reiche, Danyel – 2008
Norway’s abundance of natural resources is the deciding factor in explaining how the north European state ranks among countries worldwide with the highest standard of living. A sovereign wealth fund was established in 1990 in which surpluses from oil and gas industry sales have been and will continue to be invested. At the end of the 1990s Norwegian public opinion insisted that the sovereign wealth fund should not only be used for intergenerational justice, but should also contribute to the implementation of universally accepted values and norms. At the end of 2004 the parliament (Storting), on the basis of the Graver Report, finally agreed on ethics guidelines for investments made by the sovereign wealth fund. The fund now aspires to include in its portfolio only businesses that adhere to specified ethical regulations. This report illustrates the emergence and outcome of this development. It concentrates on analyzing to what extent sovereign wealth funds could be a new instrument of climate protection policy. For this purpose, the contribution of the two main instruments of ethical regulations—“active ownership” and the exclusion of businesses from the fund portfolio—are analyzed, as well as the instruments that have been created for their implementation. This report also analyzes the drawbacks and constraints of a dissemination of the Norwegian regulations to other financial actors and their initial diffusion effects. Finally, it discusses ongoing evaluations of the ethical regulations.