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Norway's $1 trillion fund to beef up scrutiny of sustainability, ocean pollution

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Norway's $1 trillion fund to beef up scrutiny of sustainability, ocean pollution
FILE PHOTO - Norwegian sovereign wealth fund (SWF) CEO Yngve Slyngstad attends a working session during the One Planet Summit at the Seine Musicale center in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes   -   Copyright  GONZALO FUENTES(Reuters)
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OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s $1 trillion (£777.42 billion) sovereign wealth fund will demand that companies in which it invests follow stricter guidelines on global sustainability, including efforts to combat plastic pollution of the oceans, the fund’s manager said on Wednesday.

The fund’s ambitions as an investor significantly overlap with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental development by 2030, it said in a statement.

“Our most important contribution is to strengthen governance, improve performance and promote sustainable business practices,” Chief executive Yngve Slyngstad said in a statement.

“We invest in developing markets and in companies developing solutions for a more environmentally friendly economy. Finally, we divest from companies with unsustainable business models,” he added.

Among its demands, the fund will require that companies better protect the oceans.

“We expect companies to manage the challenges and opportunities related to sustainable use of the ocean,” Slyngstad said.

“Examples of relevant sectors include ocean-based industries such as shipping, wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture, but also retail, the value chain of plastic products and agricultural goods.”

The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is the world’s largest by asset value, holding stakes in more than 9,000 companies in 72 countries, in addition to a fixed income portfolio and direct stakes in real estate.

Norges Bank Investment Management, a unit of the Norwegian central bank, also said it had appointed three outside advisors to strengthen its work on corporate governance issues.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Kim Coghill)

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