Norway’s largest pension fund is divesting from 14 companies involved in producing nuclear missiles and other weapons.
Oslo-based KLP, which manages more than 300 billion kroner (US$35.4 billion), said it made the decision after reviewing companies that may violate its guidelines on weapons. “Those excluded are mainly companies that directly or indirectly contribute to the continuing existence of nuclear weapons,” said Kiran Aziz, KLP’s head of responsible investments. “Companies do not need to produce the actual weapons components themselves. It is sufficient that they contribute in other ways.”
The fund said in a statement that the weapons “by their nature violate fundamental humanitarian principles.”
As of this month, KLP won’t do business with companies including Britain’s Rolls Royce Holdings, Massachusetts-based Raytheon Technologies Corp. and France’s Thales. KLP said Rolls Royce produces components for a number of vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons, Raytheon develops missiles that can carry nuclear warheads and Thales develops and produces components for nuclear missiles.
A United Nations’ treaty on eliminating nuclear weapons took effect in January, so investors like KLP must apply more stringent standards to companies that contribute to making those weapons, said Aziz.
In recent years, pension and wealth funds around the world have divested stocks, bonds or investment funds from companies that they have deemed unethical or morally ambiguous.
Earlier this year, KLP divested from 16 companies that operated in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. They appeared on a UN list of 112 companies that it said were complicit in violating the human rights of Palestinians by operating in the West Bank.
Last year, KLP excluded Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone because of its ties to Myanmar’s military, which staged a coup. It also previously cut investments in British security company G4S, saying the group was operating in countries such as Qatar and United Arab Emirates where there is a risk of violating international labor norms.
The latest exclusions mean that KLP has sold shares worth just over 1 billion kroner ($117 million) and debt securities in the form of bonds worth around 200 million kroner ($23.5 million).