Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has breached its own code of ethics by investing billions in companies involved with nuclear weapons, reports say.
It has been revealed that the Government Pension Fund Global (‘Oil Fund’) invested 4.4 billion kroner in 2011 in five companies. UK-based Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC received the biggest, totaling 3.1 billion kroner.
The firm, together with Babcock Marine and BAE Systems, is involved in developing submarines for the British Army that will contain nuclear weapons.
Other companies to receive money were the UK’s Babcock International (534 million), France’s Thales (328 million), and US firms Jacobs Engineering (208 million), and Babcock and Wilcox (188 million), reports Klassekampen.
As well as developing nuclear weapon-carrying submarines, Babcock International’s involvement is maintaining Britain’s current nuclear ones, including the Vanguard-class ones.
These four craft, introduced in 1994, are armed with up to 16 Trident II SLBMs (Submarine-launched ballistic missiles). They were all built by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering at Barrow-in-Furness, Scotland, between 1986 and 1999
US firm Jacobs Engineering produces and maintains Britain’s nuclear warheads through the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), of which it bought a third share at the end of 2008.
Amongst other things, Babcock and Wilcox designs, manufactures, and sells components to the US Government.
French company Thales is involved in development of the French military’s submarine-launched M51 atomic missiles. Thales was excluded from the Oil Fund on the advice of the fund’s ethical committee in 2005, this was quashed by the Ministry of Finance quashed four years later.
ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) Norway’s campaign coordinator, Magnus Løvold, told the paper, “The Norwegian government has stated that it wants a total ban on nuclear weapons.”
“The Pension Fund Global contributes to maintaining, legitimising and thus the probable use of nuclear weapons by investing in nuclear weapons manufacturers.”
Whilst the Ministry of Finance was unable to comment on Klassekampen’s article, Norges Bank, responsible for the SWF’s operation management, said exclusion decisions are up to the ministry.
“The Ministry of Finance informs Norges Bank when it has been decided a company should be excluded from the fund, and Norges Bank consequently ensures the sale of the fund’s shares in.”
Last week, it was revealed that Norway buys in more military equipment than any other country in Europe.