Leading Norwegian pension providers score high on sustainability and ethics

27 January 2021

The new Fair Pension Guide from Fair Finance Norway shows consumers how leading Norwegian pension providers deliver on social responsibility, ethics and sustainability. 

The launch of this new pension guide is very timely because a new national public scheme called Own Pension Account was introduced on January 1st this year, to assist in giving approximately 1.5 million Norwegians an overview of their pension. All employees in the private sector who are members of a defined contribution pension scheme will have previous and current pension savings gathered together in their pension account. In addition, pension capital certificates from previous individual savings agreements can also be collected in the Own pension account. From February 1st many Norwegian will be able to choose between different pension providers. As a result, many Norwegians will now have the opportunity to move their savings to companies that focus on ethics, sustainability and social responsibility.

There are four pension providers listed on the Norwegian Ethical Pension Guide. - KLP, Storebrand, Nordea and DNB - which account for 86 per cent of the Norwegian pension market.

"We and many pension savers would also have liked to add the banks in the SpareBank1 Alliance in this overview as well. We are currently in dialogue with these banks and hope to be able to update the pension guide with additional scores from the SpareBank1 banks during 2021," says Jorge B. Jensen, head of financial policies in the Norwegian Consumer Council.

He adds that it is expected that all pension companies, including those not included in the first version of the guide, will make a significant effort in order to improve further on their work with topics regarding sustainability and ethics.

In the new ranking of Norwegian pension providers, Storebrand achieve the highest average score, while Nordea ends up with the lowest score of the four. DNB come in second, while KLP come in third.

"Norwegian pension providers generally deliver well on topics such as human rights, labour rights and gender equality, while they get lower scores on themes like tax evasion, energy production and weapons." says the leader of the Future in our hands, Anja Bakken Riise.

The Fair Pension Guide compares the scope and depth of the guidelines for pension providers. The extent to which pension providers actually comply with their own guidelines is not measured in the guide itself, but through case studies the companies' guidelines will be checked against their practices.

"Good guidelines for sustainability and ethics require continuous work. Even if the average score is relatively high, this does not mean that the pension providers do not have the potential for improvement. Good guidelines are also no guarantee of good practice. The most important thing is that the companies work actively to ensure that the guidelines are also implemented in good practice. That is what ultimately becomes decisive." Riise concludes.

"There is no doubt that we have a pension industry that has well-developed guidelines for ethics and sustainability. In Norway, there are several companies that have prioritized such topics over several decades. In our view, many of the guidelines are more comprehensive and in-depth than the guidelines that currently apply to the state-run Norwegian Petroleum Fund." says Jorge B. Jensen, head of financial policies in the Norwegian Consumer Council.