by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) Dec 01, 2014
A major Norwegian pension fund said Monday it had sold all its shares in coal companies to join the fight against climate change.
The KLP fund, which manages 470 billion kroner (54 billion euros, $67 billion) on behalf of public sector workers, sold 386 million kroner worth of shares and bonds in 27 mining and energy companies which draw most of their revenue from coal.
The list of companies axed by the fund includes India's Reliance Power and Tata Power, US firm American Electric Power and the Chinese groups China Coal Energy and China Shenhua Energy.
Greenpeace Norway head Truls Gulowsen called the move "a good first step".
KLP also earlier announced a hike in renewable energy investments worth 500 million kroner.
"We have attempted to establish a sensible balance between investments in new renewable energy production, divestment from coal companies as well as exercising our shareholder influence," Jeanett Bergan, responsible for investment at the fund, said in a statement.
"The next step now is to press companies to move in a more climate-friendly direction and reduce their carbon emissions."
Norway's sovereign wealth fund, KLP's big brother and the world's largest sovereign fund, is also considering a possible capital divestment from fossil fuel companies, including not only coal but also oil and natural gas.
A report by an independent group of experts is expected on Wednesday.
Other firms excluded by KLP on Monday were Canadian fertiliser group Agrium -- which the fund blames for buying phosphate from Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara -- and three companies with cotton suppliers from Uzbekistan, where the sector has long used child labour and still today resorts to forced labour.
US tech giant Yahoo was readmitted after being excluded in 2005 for giving Chinese authorities information leading to the arrest of a journalist, an incident for which the company apologised.
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