Norges Bank, in administering Norway’s $900 billion Government Pension Fund, has decided to exclude Duke Energy and its subsidiaries based on the risk of severe environmental damage.
Earlier this year, Norges Bank announced that it would be excluding 52 companies from Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), based on new guidelines which excluded companies that generate more than 30% of their revenue or activity from coal. Specifically, the new guidelines specify “that coal power companies and mining companies who themselves, or through other operations they control, base 30 percent or more of their activities on coal, and/or derive 30 percent of their revenues from coal, may be excluded from the GPFG.”
Following on from its intention to continue monitoring and adjusting those companies which it would invest in as part of the wealth fund, Norges Bank announced on Wednesday that it would exclude the companies Duke Energy Corp, and the wholly-owned subsidiaries Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, Duke Energy Progress LLC, and Progress Energy Inc. from the Government Pension Fund Global.
The decision was made on the basis of a recommendation provided by Norges Bank’s Council on Ethics, which recommended the companies’ exclusion “due to the unacceptable risk of these companies being responsible for severe environmental damage.”
“For many years, these companies have among other things repeatedly discharged environmentally harmful substances from a large number of ash basins at coal-fired power plants in North Carolina,” the Council on Ethics explained. “Several court rulings have ordered the companies to remove or seal these ash basins. In its assessment, the Council places emphasis on the fact that the planned measures will not be fully implemented for another 10-15 years. The Council also perceives the long-lasting and extensive breaches of the environmental legislation to be a considerable risk factor.”
According to Gwladys Fouche from Reuters, at the end of 2015, the GPFG held 0.62% of Duke Energy, a stake worth $304 million, but it has since sold those shares in Duke and its subsidiaries.
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