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Giant Norway fund relaxes controversial exclusion policy

The giant Norwegian Global Pension Fund is softening its controversial, hard-line stance on corporate exclusions in favour of putting more companies on watch and lobbying for change…The development relaxes the fund’s previous position under which it tended to blacklist companies where it deemed there was risk of unethical complicity…The government said new engagement guidelines for the fund would enable it to consider “alternative measures” before a company is excluded on grounds of grossly unethical behaviour. It said active ownership or ‘observation’ might reduce the risk of continued violations of ethical norms better than exclusion...The new guidelines also include “ambitious requirements” for the fund to integrate best environmental, social and governance practices, transparency and reporting into investment. [refers to Norges Bank, United Technologies]