The Council on Ethics’ routines for assessing companies that have been excluded from investment by the GPFG or placed under observation
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 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 further consideration, decide to uphold the exclusion of a company that has requested 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 its exclusion from the GPFG. Such information should be sent to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Each year, the Council reviews whether the excluded companies still own the businesses or produce the products which led to their exclusion from investment by the GPFG. If the business 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.
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 revoke the company’s exclusion or continue it.
Norges Bank may decide to place a company under observation at 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 issued by 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.