Norway's sovereign wealth fund tells companies to set zero-emission goals

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A general view of the Norwegian central bank, where Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is situated, in Oslo, Norway, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Gwladys Fouche/File Photo

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OSLO, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Norway’s $1.2 trillion wealth fund, the world’s largest, said on Tuesday it would decarbonise its holdings by pushing firms to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to nil by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.

The fund invests the petroleum revenues from Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer for future generations in stocks, bonds, property and renewable projects abroad.

“Our long-term return will completely depend on how the companies in our portfolio manage the transition to a zero emissions society,” Chief Executive Nicolai Tangen of Norges Bank Investment Management said in a statement.

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Tuesday’s plan follows a proposal made in April by the Norwegian government, which said the fund should push the 9,300 companies it invests in to cut their emissions to nil by 2050. read more

“We will engage the companies to reach this target by setting credible preliminary targets and creating plans to reduce their direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases,” Chief Governance and Compliance Officer Carine Smith Ihenacho said.

Still, the fund has previously said it would not divest from big emitters to achieve these targets but instead be an “active shareholder” to effect change. read more

The fund owns on average owns 1.3% of all listed global stocks and its size is equivalent to $219,000 for every Norwegian man, woman and child.

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The fund published its first expectations on how companies should address climate change more than a decade ago.

It tracks climate-related risks, defined as the impact climate change may have on the assets the fund invests in, but also the opportunities that could arise for individual firms successfully adapting to it.

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Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche and David Evans

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