The manager of the giant Norwegian sovereign wealth fund announced that it has decided to exclude four Chinese companies from the portfolio amid concerns about the use of endangered species in their traditional medical devices and has reopened a Korean company.
Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) said Wednesday it had decided to exclude China Traditional Chinese Medicine Holdings; Tong Ren Tang Technologies Co and its subsidiary Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Co and China Grand Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Holdings “because of the unacceptable risk that the companies could cause serious environmental damage.”
NBIM, which runs the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) worth NOK 11.5 trillion (EUR 1.15 trillion), also said it has decided to repeal the South Korean explosives and machinery maker Hanwha, which has been banned from its portfolio since 2008.
“The Ethics Council has stated that Hanwha Corp is no longer engaged in cluster munitions manufacturing activities and that the company has confirmed this,” NBIM said.
All of the decisions in the announcement were based on recommendations from the GPFG’s advisory body, the Ethics Council, NBIM said.
According to information on its website, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund invested NOK 239 million (EUR 23.9 million) in the four Chinese companies at the end of 2020.
In response to all of its recommendations to exclude Chinese companies, the Ethics Council said that all four manufactured and marketed Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the products they made contained “body parts from globally threatened species such as saiga antelope horns,” leopard bones and scales Pangolins. “
“The use of endangered species in TCM products can contribute to the illegal trade in wild animals and increase the risk of these species becoming extinct,” it said.
The council said there was no information about the amount of body parts of endangered species the company used, where the animal parts came from, what stocks were available and how they were replenished.
“If such data is not made available, the Ethics Council concludes that the company is contributing to serious environmental damage. The company has not announced any specific plans to replace the ingredients based on endangered species with other ingredients, ”it said.
IPE has contacted the companies by email and is waiting for responses.
The Ethics Council said demand for TCM is increasing and it is estimated that the market will be worth $ 123 billion in 2023.
“Although the use of animal parts makes up a small fraction of the ingredients used in TCM, the growing demand for TCM is expected to contribute to the loss of biodiversity, and for some species this is the main reason these animals are at risk, to become extinct, “said the council.