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Norges wants companies to address ocean risks

Norges Bank Investment Management, the manager of the Government Pension Fund Global, Oslo, called on companies it invests in to integrate ocean risks into business policies in efforts to induce sustainable ocean use, according to a statement Wednesday.

The 8.6 trillion Norwegian kroner ($1.02 trillion) sovereign wealth fund will start engaging with boards of companies whose activities are directly and indirectly related to ocean degradation to get them to incorporate ocean risk to their risk management processes.

"Companies should ascertain that material ocean-related risks and opportunities are integrated in corporate strategy, risk management and reporting. The ocean is a vital part of the biosphere and an important part of the global economy. We expect companies to manage the challenges and opportunities related to sustainable use of the ocean," Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges, said in a statement.

Many companies in Norges' investment portfolio depend on the ocean as part of their business model, according to the statement. Norges expects these companies to integrate measures that will help to identify the impact of their activities, business relations in the value chain, products and services on the ocean.

Aimed at minimizing the negative impact of these activities on the ocean, companies should be monitoring risks arising from the sourcing, use and disposal of their products, and engaging with suppliers, customers, consumers and waste management companies, Norges said.

Norges wants companies to start disclosing targets, performance and other metrics that illustrate progress made to achieve greater ocean sustainability. Companies are expected to identify material market, regulatory and environmental ocean risks and incorporate plans to mitigate these risks into their policies.

Norges will engage with boards to boost transparency of their operations related to oceans and boost responsible management of business activities in poorly regulated sectors and geographies, seeking to help develop standards in those areas.