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Divestment Done! and Divestment To Do: the Norwegian Government Pension Fund and Coal

By Heffa Schücking - Urgewald, Future in our hands, and Greenpeace Norway, Summer 2016

(in 2015), the Norwegian Parliament took a historic decision to move the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) out of thermal coal. The Parliament determined that companies should be excluded if they “base 30% or more of their activities on coal, and/or derive 30% of their revenues from coal.”1Thiswas an important break-through as the 30% threshold established a new benchmark for divestment actions of large investors. Only months after the Norwegian decision, the world’s largest insurance company, Allianz, undertook a coal divestment action of its own based on the GPFG’s 30% threshold.2And other investors such as KLP and Storebrand, which had already undertaken divestment actions, have now tightened their thresholds to keep up with the trail blazed by the Norwegian Parliament.

This briefing provides a “snapshot” of how the world’s largest coal divestment action (was progressing by 2016). To this end, we have analyzed the GPFG’s holdings list from December 31st 2015 as well as the implementation guidelines laid out by Norway’s Finance Ministry. Although the divestment action is not due to be completed until the end of 2016, we wish to draw attention to some weaknesses that could diminish the scope and impact of the Storting’s decision if they are not addressed.

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