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As Norway funds rainforest conservation, its pension fund invests in companies driving deforestation

At the same time that it is committing hundreds of millions of dollars a year to protecting rainforests, Norway is investing more than 13 billion dollars a year via its pension fund in dozens of companies linked to deforestation, alleges a new report from Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway.

The report, “Beauty and the Beast”, finds that Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global has stakes in companies operating in the palm oil, oil and gas, mining, beef, logging, pulp and paper, soy and hydroelectric energy sectors in key tropical forest countries. The investments dwarf the $500 million or so the Norwegian government commits annually toward reducing deforestation and forest degradation.

Beauty and the Beast

“While Norway has become internationally famous for its initiative towards rainforest protection, the truth is that the same government invests far more money in some of the worst industries on Earth, responsible for massive rainforest destruction,” said Lars Løvold, director of Rainforest Foundation Norway, in a statement.

“This illustrates a critical incoherence in the Norwegian approach to the rainforests. Furthermore, the investments made by the Norwegian Government are undermining the much needed international effort to preserve the rainforest. While the Norwegian Government is using a finger to save rainforests, it uses a fist to destroy it.”

Nonetheless Norway remains the biggest donor toward overseas efforts to protect forests. The pension fund has also divested from six companies involved in especially egregious deforestation.

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