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Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund To Seek Disclosure Of Carbon Footprint

Banks with funding from Norway’s $960 billion sovereign wealth fund will now have to disclose the carbon footprint of their investment and lending activities, CEO Yngve Slyngstad told Reuters on Friday.

The fund has a legacy of measuring the environmental impact of its equities and bonds purchases before making any transactions. Now, banking institutions that benefit from the fund’s programs will have to internally measure their green factor and report it to Norges Bank Investment Management.

"What kind of loans do they have and how are their loan books specifically exposed to this issue?” Slyngstad said. “In practice that will mean the corporate loan books."

Financial entities represent 23.8 percent of the fund’s equity portfolio – the highest portion Norges allotted to any one sector. Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo are amongst the major financial institutions that have received the Norwegian capital.

Adoption of the new green reporting program will take time to spread. “But the overall direction of their policies is something that we expect to come," the CEO said. The boards of companies that would have to prepare the environmental assessments will be notified of the additional protocol either in writing or via high-level meetings.

"In 2017, we will have more than 4,000 company meetings. Last year, nearly half of the meetings raised the issue in the environmental, social and governance area," Slyngstad said.

Oslo made a rare decision to use just over 3 percent of its giant fund in the 2017 budget, local media reported in October, citing estimates by the statistics office and investment banks. The same pool of money, which is derived mainly from the nation’s oil wealth, will be used to finance clean energy initiatives and projects. The electric car market will be one of the sectors to benefit from the new program as “lucrative” subsidies from the fund will be used to ensure Norway becomes carbon neutral by 2030.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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