Soros fund drops shares in Israel’s SodaStream | The National
Norway is one of the few countries that have an ethics oversight council to review investments made by its sovereign wealth fund. In January, the finance minister, on advice from the council, told its sovereign wealth fund to sell its holdings in AFI Group and Danya Cebus.
Since the outbreak of fresh violence in Gaza, there have been no new announcements of boycotts by big investors, but funds such as Norway’s are constantly reviewing their investments according to the ethics council that monitors its holdings.
“We cannot comment on companies or cases that we are working on presently,” said Pia Goyer, senior adviser at the secretariat of the ethics council to Norway’s government pension fund. “You have to wait until we issue a recommendation. It takes some time to get all the facts on the table, the involvement of a company in any particular situation. The council only meets once a month and discusses what we should proceed with.”
Lisa Stonestreet, the programme director at the London-based UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, a non-government trade body that promotes sustainable investment, said that institutional investors were increasingly focused on ethical factors.
“First of all there is a public demand for it in terms of people calling into account larger organisations across the board to look at what the impact is in terms of sustainability, in terms of what the impact is and social issues,” she said. For some investors, the main aspect is profitability.
The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, which manages more than $200bn, has investments in a number of Israeli companies, including SodaStream and Bank Halpolim, as part of its foreign portfolio of stocks. Those holdings were part of its indexing investment strategy and the fund had no plans to sell them as it focused only on potential for profit, said its spokeswoman, Linda Sims.