Norway stops investing in companies that produce nuclear weapons

Publish date: February 6, 2006

In January 2006, Norway announced last month that it has stopped investing, via its state pension fund, in seven companies which it says are involved in the production of nuclear weapons as those activities “violate fundamental humanitarian principles,” the BBC reported.

The companies that Norway will no longer invest in are BAE Systems, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell International, Finmeccanica, Safran and United Technologies Corporation.

The Norwegian government said shares worth about $500m had been sold in the companies at the end of 2005. According to Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen, the centre-right government of Kjell Magne Bondevik had taken the decision before it was voted out of office in September 2005. Halvorsen also said the current Labour administration supported its predecessor’s action, based on recommendations it had received from the fund’s Ethics Council, said the BBC.

The Norwegian government said it had based its decision on information available on the companies’ web sites as well as independent analysis. It said it had asked each of the companies concerned to clarify their position regarding nuclear weapons. One company confirmed its involvement, while the other six either did not reply or declined to discuss the subject, the news service said.

The Norwegian Finance Ministry stated, “According to the ethical guidelines for the Government Pension Fund-Global, companies that produce weapons that through normal use may violate fundamental humanitarian principles shall be excluded. Nuclear weapons are considered to be in this category of weapons,” the BBC quoted the ministry as saying.

The Finance Ministry also said that further companies could be excluded from the fund in the future, if found to be involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Norway is opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, although it remains a member of NATO, several of whose members have nuclear weapons arsenals.