The Revised National Budget 2004

The Revised National Budget 2004

Revised National Budget 2004: Improved economic outlook

Amendments to the Petroleum Tax Act

Ethical Guidelines for the Government Petroleum Fund

Chapter 4 of Report nr. 2 (2003-2004) to Stortinget (The Government Petroleum Fund)

Press Release

No.:

51/2004

Date:

11.05.2004

Contact:

Therese Riiser Wålen , Telephone 22 24 41 09 , Mobile 940 50 886

Ethical Guidelines for the Government Petroleum Fund

The Revised National Budget 2004 includes new ethical guidelines proposed by the Government for the management of the Government Petroleum Fund. Management of the Fund is intended to meet two ethical obligations: a) the obligation to ensure that future generations receive a fair share of the oil wealth and b) the obligation to respect the fundamental rights of those who are affected by the activities of companies in which the Fund invests.

The ethical guidelines comprise three elements:

  • Exercise of ownership rights to promote long-term financial return. Long-term return will generally benefit from a portfolio consisting of companies that demonstrate respect for universally accepted norms of ethical behaviour.
  • Negative screening to exclude companies that produce chemical and biological weapons, anti-personnel mines, weapons with non-detectable fragments, incendiary weapons, blinding laser weapons, nuclear weapons and cluster bombs. These are weapons whose normal use violates fundamental humanitarian principles.
  • Exclusion of companies in which there is deemed to exist an unacceptable risk of contributing to violations of fundamental humanitarian principles, gross violations of human rights, gross corruption or severe environmental degradation.

The manager of the Fund, Norges Bank, will be responsible for the implementation of the corporate governance policy, while the Ministry of Finance will be responsible for decisions regarding ethical constraints on the Fund’s investment universe.

The Ministry of Finance will establish an external council to advise the Ministry on negative screening and exclusion under the ethical guidelines.

In 2001 a minor part of the Petroleum Fund was invested in accordance with environmental guidelines as a pilot project. Since ethical guidelines are now being issued for the entire Petroleum Fund, the Government has decided to discontinue the pilot project.

The guidelines are due to be implemented in the second half of 2004.

Read more about ethical guidelines in chapter 4.2 St. meld. nr. 2 (2003-2004).