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Nigerian shores poisoned:

Norwegian Pension Fund should divest from oil giants

Rafto Prize winner Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria today urged the Norwegian Pension Fund to divest from oil giants Eni and Shell, following a shocking announcement by the Norwegian government on October 14.

“This is the time for the Norwegian Pension Fund to ensure that they do not invest in polluting companies such as Shell and Eni. To continue to invest in such companies with track records as heavy polluters is equal to participating in the damage they do and reaping tainted or dirty money. Consider the lives you could save, and the environment and livelihoods you could defend by pulling funds away from these companies. And do so now!” said Nnimmo Bassey, Coordinator of Oilwatch International.

Shocking lack of interest

On October 14th, Friends of the Earth Norway expressed its shock when the Norwegian government announced that it would not follow the advice from the Norwegian Council of Ethics to put the oil companies Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and Eni S.p.A under observation for four years due to the environmental damage they caused in the Niger Delta.

      Both companies are responsible for the disastrous environmental situation in the oil-rich Niger Delta and the massive loss of livelihoods due to pollution in the region.

      “Pollution from Shell facilities destroyed the livelihoods of many communities in the Niger Delta. The fish are gone, the soil is polluted and in many areas locals no longer have access to clean drinking water. The United Nations have declared the area a disaster zone where urgent action is needed.  We were shocked to hear that the Norwegian government decided not to follow the advice from the Council of Ethics to put Shell and Eni under observation. We urge the Norwegian government to reconsider its decision,” said Lars Haltbrekken, Chair of Friends of the Earth Norway.

No cleanup after two years

In a landmark 2011 report, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)  recommended that Shell take responsibility for the severe pollution the Anglo Dutch multinational has caused in the Niger Delta.  Unfortunately no substantial action was taken by Shell following the UNEP report. 

The Council on Ethics was established by Royal Decree 19th November, 2004. The role of the Council is to provide evaluation on whether or not investments by the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global in specified companies are inconsistent with the established ethical guidelines. The Ministry of Finance makes decisions on the exclusion of companies from the Fund's investment universe based on the Council's recommendations.

Per 31.12.2012, the Government Pension Fund owned 2,34% of the shares in Royal Dutch Shell and 1,87% of the shares in Eni Sp.A.

 

 

 

The article was last updated on: 15.10.2013

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