Norwegian pension fund accused of benefitting from child labour

A human rights activist has accused the Norweigian Government Pension Fund of investing in companies that use child labour and demanded that they divest.

Fernando Morales-de la Cruz has challenged the Norweigan Prime Minister Erna Solberg to investigate the claims of "Barnegate" (Childrengate) claiming that in the Ministry of Finance, the Council on Ethics and Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) that administers the fund, could have made a decision to stop investing earlier and potentially still invests in companies that abuse rights.

Morales-de la Cruz has long campaigned against child labour, and previous taken the EU and the coffee industry to task over payment to producers. He said he has chosen to focus on Norway has it has now has AUM of over $1.4tr worldwide and the country a commitment to respect children's rights throughout the world, in addition to international law.

When asked for a comment by sister title European Pensions, Line Aaltvedt of Norges Bank Investment Management stated: “Children’s rights has been a focus area for the fund for years. Respecting children’s rights is an inherent part of good business practice and risk management, and we expect companies to integrate children’s rights into their policies, corporate strategy, risk management and reporting. In 2008, we issued an expectation document on children’s rights, which outlines our expectations on this matter. This document serves as a starting point for our interaction with companies on children’s rights. We expect companies to address this topic in a manner meaningful to their business model and wish to support them in their efforts.”

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