The Norwegian pension scheme KLP is excluding the French oil company Total from its investments. KLP considers Total’s activities in Western Sahara unethical.
A longer version of this article below was published on website of Norwegian broadcaster NRK on 03.06.2013.Translated to English by the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.
KLP, the local government pension scheme, no longer wants to include one of the world’s largest oil companies in its investment portfolio.
The reason is the oil company’s agreement with Morocco to explore for oil and gas offshore Western Sahara.
“KLP believes that Total’s activities on the continental shelf off Western Sahara’s coast may be linked to breaches of fundamental ethical norms,” Jeanett Bergan, leader of responsible investments in KLP Kapitalforvaltning, said.
Bergan added that Western Sahara is in practice annexed by Morocco. See KLP's assessment of excluding Total here.
Total has resumed its exploration for oil and gas offshore Western Sahara in 2012. All activity on the continental shelf off Western Sahara’s coast is linked to breaches of fundamental ethical norms, KLP believes.
The Financial Times’ survey of the world’s largest companies as measured in market value listed Total as 39th in 2012.
Globally, only 12 companies had a greater turnover than Total in 2012. The company has 97,000 employees and operates in 130 countries.“Not Breaking the Law”
KLP has been in contact with Total’s headquarters in France.
“The company has pointed out that it is not breaking international law, nor have we claimed that it is,” Bergan said. “KLP excludes all companies that are carrying out extraction of natural resources in occupied Western Sahara.”
KLP and the KLP funds together had investments of about 52.6 million € in Total S.A. as of 31 December 2012.
In comparison, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Abroad owned at the end of 2012 shares in Total worth 1.9 billion €, equivalent to 2.1% of its shares.