The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global published Thursday a new policy on human rights, outlining how it expects companies to respect human rights.
- The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has, for the first time, published a human rights policy that covers the full range of human rights. This is a major step towards getting companies to address human rights issues in their operations, and we’ve worked hard to make this happen, said Andrew Preston, director of Forum for Development and Environment, a network of 50 Norwegian non-profit organisations.
The publication of the human rights policy is significant, as the fund is a major player in global investment with over 1% of the global stock market. Its funds are invested in over 9000 companies in 66 countries. The document entitled “Human Rights Expectations towards Companies” sets out ways in which the Bank expects companies to address a broad set of long-term risks in their strategies, investment plans, risk management and reporting. All investees should have a human rights policy and act accordingly.
- We are particularly happy to see the clear and frequent references to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, said Andrew Preston. These principles represent a new international standard, for the first time defining clearly the roles and responsibilities of business, including the need for ongoing due diligence, and access to remedy for victims of human rights violations.
The Norwegian forum and others have followed the Bank’s ethical investment practice over many years and have frequently challenged the Bank’s commitment to following up proven violations of human rights by companies in its portfolio.
- This represents an important step forward and we congratulate the fund on getting this policy into place. We look forward to seeing how the new policy will impact on the fund’s active engagement with portfolio companies, said Preston.