Norway’s oil fund shows responsible investor pressure is getting results

Norway’s $810bn oil fund has stepped up its push for more responsible investing.

In doing so it voted against the resolutions recommended by 9,000 of the companies it holds investments in, including Apple, General Electric and JPMorgan.

The fund also completely sold out of a record 73 companies last year, many of which were related to the coal industry.

Votes against its investment company proposals were designed to “raise the stakes a bit”. Nonetheless, it supported its boards 92 per cent of the time.

The investment fund is seeking changes such as the ability of shareholders in the US to propose their own directors, and in Sweden the individual rather than collective election of board directors.

Previously the fund has said it would disclose its voting intentions ahead of key votes. On Thursday it revealed it had decided against pre-disclosure in nine cases, after companies responded positively to its views.

This initiative has already sparked debate over the best way to change corporate behaviour. However, it seems clear that the fund is successfully creating momentum in the directions it seeks.

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