The Council on Ethics recommends that PT Astra International Tbk (Astra) and the parent companies Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd (JC&C) and Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd (Jardines) be excluded from the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) due to an unacceptable risk that they are contributing to or are themselves responsible for serious environmental damage.

The Council’s assessment concerns the Martabe Gold Mine in Sumatra, which is owned by Astra’s subsidiary United Tractors. The Martabe Gold Mine lies within the confines of the critically endagered Tapanuli orangutan’s habitat which constitutes the species sole remaining habitat. The Tapanuli orangutan is the most critically endangered of all the great apes and there are fewer than 800 individuals left. The survival of the species depends on the preservation of this habitat. The Council attaches importance to the fact that the company is planning to significantly increase the mining area during the mine’s lifetime, that new deposits will be exploited if commercially viable, and that the Indonesian authorities have granted permission for mining operations in an area that is as yet undeveloped. The Council considers that, as long as PTAR’s activities result in a reduction in the size of the orangutan’s habitat, the risk of the companies contributing to serious environmental damage will remain unacceptable.

Astra has been under observation since October 2015 due to the development of oil palm plantations in Indonesia by one of its subsidiaries, PT Astra Agro Lestari Tbk (AAL), and consequent risk of deforestation and loss of biodiversity. The Council recommends that observation pursuant to this issue be discontinued, irrespective of the decision to exclude Astra on the grounds of its involvement in the Martabe Gold Mine, due to the company’s measures to reduce the risk of deforestation.

The Council on Ethics issued its recommendations on exclusion on 12 May 2023. Norges Bank announced its decision to exclude the company on 29 February 2024.

Please find the Council’s recommendation here.