FORUT Norway Campaign against Investments of the Norwegian Government in the Alcohol Industry
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global has invested around $10 billion in multinational alcohol corporations. A campaign by Norwegian development organization FORUT – solidarity action for development has been launched to stop this. The campaign “Oil fund out of alcohol industry” addresses the fact that government investments in alcohol companies are incompatible with the overarching goals of Norwegian development and foreign policies.
Massive government investments in Big Alcohol
The Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is one of the largest investment funds in the world, now owning 1.3% of the global stock market. The fund with a total value of more the $900 billion US Dollars, invests in around 8.000 companies all over the world. Close to NOK 80 billion is invested in multinational alcohol companies. Half of this, NOK 21 billion are invested in AB InBev – the world’s largest beer producers – and NOK 17 billion are invested in SABMiller – the second largest beer brewer, which was purchased by AB InBev in 2016.
The investment portfolio also includes companies like Diageo, Heineken, and Carlsberg. Such investments are now being called into question and challenged by the FORUT campaign that aims to make the Government Pension Fund divest from alcohol production and the industry at large.
The campaign has been launched in Oslo on September 21, 2016, at which reference has been made to the Global Burden of Disease study that ranks alcohol among the top five risk factors for disease and premature deaths globally.
IOGT International’s President Kristina Sperkova joined the launch of the campaign and gave a talk about the strategies of the alcohol industry in the global south. Among other aspects, she showed how close the ties are between Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco. She also exposed how ethical guidelines and codes of conduct by the alcohol industry are systematically violated and remain meaningless for health and development goals.
The alcohol industry uses a host of unethical business practices and marketing is probably among the clearest examples for that – portraying women sexualized and objectivfied and targeting and exposing children and youth to alcohol promotions,” she said.
Given the evidence of pervasive and massive alcohol harm, it is unethical to build the future welfare of the Norwegian people on profits from a product that causes health, social, and economic harm, in particular when the harm caused impacts so many among the world’s poorest.
The continuous public debate around the investment policies and strategies of the GPFG has resulted in guidelines for ethical and responsible investments and a divestment list has been created, for which NGOs now advocate to include alcohol production.
— FORUT-ADD (@ForutADD) September 20, 2016
For further reading:
COWI report: Alcohol investments of the government’s pension fund