Leading Norwegian finance groups set up social investment forum

Launch follows formation of Global Sustainable Investment Alliance

Some of the leading Nordic investment institutions have got together to form Norsif, the Norwegian Forum for Responsible and Sustainable Investment.

The founding members are Folketrygdfondet, KLP, DNB and Nordea.

Folketrygdfondet (the National Insurance Fund) is the state agency which oversees the massive domestic Government Pension Fund Norway and the Government Bond Fund on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.

KLP is the mutual insurance firm, while DNB is Norway’s largest financial services group. Nordea is the Nordic-based financial services group with €218.3bn in assets under management.

An interim board of directors has been appointed, comprising Heidi Finskas, Responsible Investments Advisor at KLP (Chair), Melanie Brooks, SRI Analyst at Folketrygdfondet, Susanne Gløersen, ESG Analyst at Nordea and Kristin Voll, DNB’s Sustainability Manager.

An interim nomination committee has also been set up comprising Christina Stray (Folketrygdfondet), Eli Bleie Munkelien (KLP), Dag Arne Kristensen (DNB) and Tore Gunnar Iversen (Nordea). A permanent board will be established at Norsif’s first annual general assembly on April 30.

The launch comes on the heels of the formation of a global alliance of social investment forums (SIFs) called the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance last month. A new SIF has been launched in India and a Latin American group is also in the works.Norsif will organise events and collaborate with market participants and NGOs. It will also work with the other SIF organisations around the world and other initiatives such as the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. And it will work with academic institutions to promote research.

Trade association Finance Norway (FNO) – headed by former Storebrand CEO Idar Kreutzer – serves as Norsif’s Secretariat.

The group’s inaugural seminar last week heard presentations from Kreutzer, former Norges Bank Investment Management Ownership Head Anne Kvam and Hermes Equity Ownership Services’ Hege Sjo.

Membership in Norsif is open to asset owners and asset managers and there is an associate membership available for service providers.

Meanwhile, Nordea’s newly released 2012 CSR report|fp|d-area|csr-2012 shows the company is in active dialogue with 14 companies who have breached international norms. The report also reveals that Nordea is developing its credit risk assessments using environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. It aims to have a ‘responsible lending’ initiative implemented by the end of 2013.

“Integration of environmental, social and governance issues into the business and credit processes is an essential part of the risk assessment of corporate customers,” says Jorma Timonen, Head of Group Credit.