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Long-term ownership in a changing world

2023 was marked by war, the climate crisis and inflation. The fund is a long term, clear and predictable owner in a changing world. We made progress in line with our climate action plan. We also looked in detail at responsible artificial intelligence and how it is relevant to us as investor, and we continued to increase our voting transparency.

CEO Nicolai Tangen, Chief Governance and Compliance Officer Carine Smith Ihenacho, Global Head of Active Ownership Wilhelm Mohn and Head of Environment Eivind Fliflet presented the highlights of our responsible investment work in 2023.

2023 at a glance

In 2023, we voted on 115,266 resolutions at 11,468 to express our views as an , promote long-term value creation by companies and safeguard the fund's assets. We also produced our first standalone voting review for first half 2023.

As a   in 8,859 companies, we need to prioritise our company dialogues. We are in regular dialogue with our largest investments. In 2023, we held a total of 3,298 meetings with 1,358 companies.

In 2023, we held 1,611 meetings with 805 companies where governance topics were discussed, and 1,589 meetings with 822 companies where sustainability topics were discussed. In all, we raised ESG topics at 64 percent of our meetings with companies, covering 62 percent of the value of the equity portfolio.

We divested from 86 companies in 2023 following assessments of ESG risks, and re-included three companies into our investment universe. We identified companies with significantly heightened risks across a variety of ESG topics, including potential violations of human and labour rights, insufficient risk management related to corruption, and business models highly exposed to thermal coal. 54 of the divestment decisions involved companies that entered the fund’s benchmark index during 2023. Altogether, we have made 526 divestment decisions since 2012.

Our voting in 2023

Voting is one of our most important tools of influence as an owner. We vote to express our views as an owner, promote long-term value creation by companies and safeguard the fund's assets.

11,468

shareholder meetings voted at

98%

of our portfolio

98%

of shareholder meetings
95

We voted in line with the board's recommendation in 95 percent of all resolutions

We voted against management in 5 percent of the resolutions in 2023. The rationale for votes against are expressed in our position papers and our global voting guidelines. 

Top reasons for voting against management:

  1. Lack of board independence
  2. Combined chair/CEO
  3. Changes to bylaws or charter
Changes happen quickly. As an investor, our job is to stay ahead of the curve, yet we remain a long-term owner. We want companies and fellow investors to understand our positions, and to be a transparent and predictable global shareholder.
Nicolai Tangen
CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management

2025 Climate action plan

Delivering on our climate action plan

2023 was the first full year of the plan. Supported by new systems and analytics as well as updated policies and expectations, we rolled out our engage-to-change approach with many more companies. It is still early to evaluate our results, however, we are observing encouraging changes. 2,385 portfolio companies had set science-based net zero 2050 targets at the end of 2023, 790 more since 2022. 68 percent of our financed emissions are covered by net zero 2050 targets, a key metric defined in the plan.
68
percent of financed emissions covered by net zero 2050 targets
790
more companies with net zero targets since 2022. Overall 27 percent of the companies in the portfolio
9
percent of equity portfolio invested in climate solutions (MSCI Low Carbon Transition Score)
One year into the climate action plan, we see that an increasing number of companies have targets and transition plans. However, there is still a way to go before we reach our goal of net targets and transition plans for all the companies in the portfolio.
Carine Smith Ihenacho
Chief Governance and Compliance Officer

Invested in 8,859 companies and market participant in 72 countries

We engage with regulators, international organisations and standard setters to contribute to the development of standards that help raise the bar for all companies in areas such as corporate governance, responsible business conduct and sustainability reporting. We also participate in the development of best practices for responsible investment.

1 048
companies entering the fund’s equity benchmark index were screened

The fund’s investment strategy is based on spreading our investments globally in accordance with a global  . In 2023, we screened 1,048 companies entering the fund’s equity benchmark index and identified 317 as having high exposure to ESG risks. Of those, 263 were placed on an internal monitoring list, while we decided to divest from, or abstain from investing, in the remaining 54 companies.

Responsible artificial intelligence

In August 2023, we published our view on responsible artificial intelligence (AI). We consider key elements to be:

Board accountability

Boards play a key role in ensuring that corporate governance and strategy balance competitive deployment of new technology against potential risks.

Transparency and explainability

Companies should be able to explain how the AI systems they develop or use have been designed, trained and tested, as well as how they align with human values and intent.

Robust risk management

Risk management processes should be proactive, robust and proportionate. They should seek to identify, assess and manage risks to business, people and society.

What did we do, and why?

Our responsible investment report sums up our ownership work in detail. We have interviewed our great colleagues and topic experts to further explain more about what we’ve done, how we did it and why. Tune in!