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Norwegian oil fund may be granted standalone energy mandate

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The Norwegian government has firm plans to broaden the mandate of the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) – the former oil fund – to let it increase the number of environmentally-targeted  investments.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said there would be concrete proposals for the fund to invest in sustainable companies and set up a separate mandate for renewable energy.

In the new coalition government’s declaration in October — the Sundvolden Declaration — it stated that it would establish an investment programme within the GPFG aiming to invest in sustainable companies and projects in poor countries, Solberg told the government’s climate conference yesterday.

The declaration also said that the government would consider establishing a separate mandate for renewable energy, with the same management requirements as for other investments in the fund, she said.

Solberg said: “I am pleased to announce today that we will follow this up with concrete proposals for solutions when the finance minister presents the report on the Government Pension Fund Global on April 4.

“This proposal is to extend the mandate of the fund both in the amount of kroner and as an expansion of the range of environment investments Norges Bank can undertake,” she said.

Norges Bank Investment Management is the institution running the NOK5trln (€602bn) sovereign wealth fund, which is built on revenue from Norway’s petroleum activity in the North Sea. 

”In addition, the government with the Liberals and Christian Democrats agreed to ask a group of experts to look at what measures the government pension fund can take about the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from coal and petroleum companies,” Solberg told the conference.

This showed the government took the climate threat seriously, and also that it was continuing to make rigorous academic studies before making decisions about the management of the GPFG, she said. 

Solberg said Norway needed economic growth that was not based on the increasing use of fossil fuels.

“We need green growth,” she said, adding: “Only then can we can we ensure a good legacy for the next generation.”

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