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Responsible investment guest lectures

Responsible investment at Norges Bank Investment Management

Norges Bank Investment Management invests the Government Pension Fund Global on behalf of the Norwegian people. There is a clear expectation that we should invest responsibly, but what does that mean? How is the fund affected by issues such as climate change and diversity? Is it better to try to influence companies to reduce risks or create value, or just avoid investing in certain companies altogether? This lecture will present how we work on responsible investment through standard setting, ownership and sustainable investing. Students will reflect on emerging trends in responsible investment in the context of a large, diversified, global, financial investor in listed companies. Climate change will be used as an example throughout, showing how we work to influence market outcomes and individual companies, and adapt our portfolio. The lecture suits third-year Bachelor’s and Master’s students.

Assessing the sustainability of a company

As part of its responsible investment, Norges Bank Investment Management has published expectations of companies on a range of social and environmental topics, such as climate change and human rights. Understanding to what extent companies meet these expectations is important to us in informing and prioritising our dialogues with companies. Every year, therefore, we perform more than 4,000 detailed assessments of companies’ public disclosure on sustainability topics. This lecture will look at what questions we ask, how information is collected and aggregated (including the use of machine-learning techniques), how the data can be used to track the results of our dialogues, and how companies have changed their approach to sustainability reporting over time. Students will learn concrete examples of how to assess the sustainability of a listed company. The lecture suits third-year Bachelor’s and Master’s students.

Owning a small part of a company in a shareholder democracy

The fund is invested in a small part of more than 9,000 companies. Every year, we participate in around 12,000 shareholder meetings, casting our votes on who should sit on the board and approving fundamental changes at the companies. Deciding how to vote on the more than 120,000 individual resolutions requires a principled approach, and so Norges Bank Investment Management has developed detailed positions and guidelines over the years. Our voting is also supported by large datasets and technological solutions that enable automated voting at shareholder meetings all around the world. This lecture will present some common dilemmas we face when voting, and allow students to try out voting for themselves. In addition to approving board members, executive pay and capital issuances, we will cover voting on shareholder resolutions on sustainability topics. Students will gain insights into corporate governance principles and how a minority investor can use voting rights to safeguard its long-term interests. The lecture suits Master’s students with a basic understanding of investment and corporate finance.

Last saved: 01/07/2021

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