Norway’s Ministry of Finance has adopted a set of guidelines for the observation and exclusion of companies from investment by the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). Section 5 of the guidelines deals with the Council on Ethics’ procedures. Pursuant to section 5(7) of the guidelines:

“The Council on Ethics shall have routines for assessing whether the basis for observation or exclusion still exists. In light of new information, the Council on Ethics may recommend that the Bank revoke an observation or exclusion decision. These routines must be made public. Companies that have been excluded or placed under observation must be informed of these routines separately.


A company is not excluded for a specific period of time and exclusion may be revoked as soon as the grounds therefor no longer exist. The decision to revoke a company’s exclusion will be taken by Norges Bank following a recommendation by the Council on Ethics. Once the Bank’s decision has been announced, the Council will inform the company concerned.

If an excluded company contacts the Council and provides information indicating that grounds for its exclusion no longer exist, the Council will reassess the company. The company must demonstrate that the grounds for exclusion have been eliminated or that sufficient improvements have been made in practice. It is not sufficient to refer to the company’s strategies or plans. If the Council considers that grounds for exclusion have ceased to exist, it will issue a recommendation that Norges Bank revoke the company’s exclusion from the GPFG. However, the Council may, after completing its review, decide to uphold the exclusion of a company that has sought reassessment. In that case, it will inform the company concerned of its reasons for doing so.

The Council encourages excluded companies to inform it of circumstances which may lead to the revocation of their exclusion from the GPFG. Such information should be sent to the following email address:

The Council will, at its own initiative, reassess an excluded company if it receives information about changes in the company’s business operations which would indicate that grounds for exclusion no longer exist.

Norges Bank may also ask the Council to assess specific excluded companies. In that case, the Council will recommend either that Norges Bank maintain the company’s exclusion or revoke it.



Annual review of excluded companies

Product-based exclusion

Each year, the Council reviews whether the excluded companies are still involved in the manufacture of the products which led to their exclusion from investment by the GPFG. If the production concerned has been divested or discontinued, the Council will recommend that Norges Bank revoke the company’s exclusion.

However, if there are other reasons why the company should remain excluded, e.g. it has operations which fall within the scope of another exclusion criterion, the Council will recommend that Norges Bank continue to exclude it on these new grounds. In that case, the company will be given the opportunity to comment on the new grounds for exclusion.

Conduct-based exclusion

Each year, the Council investigates whether companies excluded under the conduct-based criteria still engage in the business operations on which their exclusion was based. For such companies, there is no absolute link between the termination or divestment of these operations and the elimination of the grounds for exclusion. For example, a company that has been excluded on the grounds of a serious accident at one of its plants could have other facilities where the level of risk is high, even though the plant initially assessed is no longer operating.

Companies’ systems for avoiding becoming involved in serious norm violations play a significant role in the Council’s assessment of whether exclusion under the conduct-based criteria should be revoked. The Council also attaches importance to what companies have done to remedy the norm violations they have caused.

If the original grounds for exclusion no longer exist, the Council will investigate whether the company has business operations that are covered by another exclusion criterion. Should that prove to be the case, the Council will recommend that Norges Bank continue the company’s exclusion on new grounds. The company will be given the opportunity to comment on the new grounds for exclusion.


Norges Bank may decide to place a company under observation on the basis of the Council’s recommendation. Norges Bank may also decide to place a company under observation although the Council has recommended its exclusion. The duration of the observation period varies. Observation may be terminated at any time during the observation period if the Council advises Norges Bank to do so or recommends the company’s exclusion from the GPFG. The observation period may be extended beyond the estimated timeframe.

During the observation period, the Council will normally furnish Norges Bank with one or more observation reports on each of the companies that have been placed under observation on the basis of a recommendation from the Council. The first report will be issued no later than two years after the company has been placed under observation. A draft observation report is sent to the company concerned for comment. Meetings with the company are often held beforehand. The Council also obtains information from other sources.