NORWAY - The Norwegian Government Pension Fund - global has withdrawn its investment in three firms producing cluster and nuclear bombs, but decided to continue keep its equity holding in German firm Rheinmetall.

Kristin Halvorsen, minister of finance, today announced the fund has withdrawn its investments in Korea's Hanwha Corporation, along with asset holdings in UK firm Serco and US-based GenCorp after an earlier recommendation by its Council on Ethics recommended assets be excluded from the fund.

Letters were sent to both Hanwha and Rheinmetall in May asking for further information about their production of such bombs, and Hanwha confirmed this was the case, but investigation into the German firm eventually revealed they no longer produce cluster munitions.

Serco, on the other hand, confirmed it is involved in a joint venture with the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment to produce nuclear weapons while Gencorp failed to reply to letters so action has now been taken to sell its equity holdings in the three firms.

This is not the first time the Norwegian pension fund has taken such action, as the finance ministry previously excluded investments in seven producers of cluster bombs and nine producers of nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the Norwegian government pension funds, through its managers Norges Bank, have a strong environmental and social governance policy, which most recently saw the exclusion of UK mining firm Vedanta in November as an investment because of human rights violations. (See earlier IPE story: Norwegian fund excludes British company)

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