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 promote value creation, or just to avoid investing in certain companies altogether? This lecture will present how we work with responsible investment through standard-setting, ownership and sustainable investing. The students will reflect on emerging trends in responsible investment in the context and opportunities 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 follow these expectations is important for for us to prioritize and inform about our dialogues with companies. Therefore, every year we perform more than 4,000 detailed assessments of companies’ public disclosures on sustainability topics. This course will illustrate which questions such an assessment ask, how data is collected and aggregated (including use of machine-learning techniques), how the data can be used to track the results of dialogues, and how companies have changed their approach to sustainability reporting over time. The 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 what to vote on the more than 120,000 individual resolutions requires a principled approach, and at Norges Bank Investment Managment we have over time developed detailed positions and guidelines to help our voting. It is also supported by large datasets and technological solutions that allow for automated voting at shareholder meetings all around the world. This course will present some common dilemmas we face when voting and allow the students to try out voting for themselves. In addition to approving board members, executive pay and capital issuances, we will cover voting at shareholder resolutions on sustainability topics. The students will gain insights in corporate governance principles and how a minority investor can use voting rights to safeguard the long-term interest of the fund. The lecture suits Master’s students with basic understanding of investments and corporate finance.

Last saved: 01/07/2021

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