Norwegian pension fund KLP announced it is blacklisting 14 more companies and divesting almost NOK1.3bn (€131bn) of securities issued by them, due to links to the production of controversial weapons, having tightened its criteria in support of the UN-brokered nuclear weapons ban.

The NOK770bn firm – Norway’s main municipal pensions provider – said the latest blacklistings included US defence contractor Raytheon, which it had re-admitted to its portfolio a year ago deeming the firm no longer involved in the production of components for nuclear or cluster weapons.

Kiran Aziz, head of responsible investments at the pension fund’s asset management unit KLP Kapitalforvaltning, said: “Companies do not need to produce the actual weapons components themselves, it is sufficient that they contribute in other ways, for example through the provision of key support services.”

KLP said the new batch of exclusions had led to the sale of just over NOK1bn of shares, and bond divestments of around NOK200m. The list also includes Rolls-Royce, engineering services company Babcock International and aerospace firm Leonardo.

The blacklistings follow KLP’s previous exclusion of 22 companies for involvement in controversial weapons.

The pension provider said the companies were producing various components for nuclear weapons or cluster munitions, or providing support services for such types of weapons, which it said were “problematic” under international law.

KLP said that traditionally, it excluded companies that made key components for controversial weapons, but that recent developments had prompted it to reassess its practice.

Aziz said KLP wanted to support the aim of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which came into force in January, and therefore had to apply stricter standards to firms that contributed to the continuing existence of such arms.

“For example, we are now taking a slightly more stringent line with producers of aircraft and vessels that have been developed, produced or adapted to launch nuclear weapons,” she said.

Though KLP revoked its previous exclusion of Raytheon in June 2020, after the firm stated it did not manufacture or sell cluster munitions, land mines, nuclear warheads, or biological or chemical weapons, the pension fund said in the exclusion decision published today that the US firm did fall within the scope of the weapons criterion in several ways.

“It develops, produces and maintains several different key nuclear weapons components,” KLP said.

Aziz was promoted to head of responsible investments at KLP Kapitalforvaltning last month from her previous role as senior analyst within responsible investments. She has replaced Jeanett Bergan, who left at the beginning of June.

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