Government Pension Fund Global, Oslo, divested equities of four companies from its portfolio due to their contribution to the violation of individuals' rights in conflict zones, a spokeswoman confirmed.
The executive board of Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages the assets of the 12.08 trillion Norwegian kroner ($1.34 trillion) sovereign wealth fund, sold 66.5 million kroner investment and 11.6 million kroner stake in construction companies Electra and Elco, respectively, as well as 6 million kroner equity investment in industrial real estate company Ashtrom Group. All three companies are Israel-based.
The Council on Ethics, which recommends divestments to GPFG, ruled that the companies pose risk because they contribute to systematic violations of individuals' rights in relation to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The council ruled that Israeli settlements in the West Bank were built in violation of international law.
The fund wants to avoid the risk that Electra will, through the construction activities linked to Israeli settlements on the West Bank, contribute to the conflict. Elco contributes in the same way because of its ownership of Electra, the council said.
The council also concluded that Ashtrom, which is leasing buildings in the West Bank, contributes to the continuation of an illegal state.
Separately, executive board also divested a 519 million kroner equity investment in India-based Oil & Natural Gas Corp. due to a risk that the company contributes to systematic violations of individuals' rights in South Sudan, where it engaged in the production of oil. Control of petroleum resources in the country was the conflict's driver, the council said.