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Norway's Largest Pension Fund Pressures Companies, Investors Over Amazon Fires

By Dieter Holger


KLP, Norway's largest pension fund, is pressuring investors, banks and agribusinesses operating in Brazil to take action on the ongoing fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest.

"We have engaged companies which undertake significant trade in agricultural products from Brazil because we want rapid dialogues and concrete actions given this extremely serious situation," said Jeanett Bergan, KLP's head of responsible investments, late Monday.

Brazil holds around 90% of the Amazon in its borders and more than 75,000 fires have ignited in the country so far this year, up by 85% over the same period in 2018, data from Brazil's space agency show. Around 370 miles of the Amazonian forest, an area equal to the size of Indianapolis, was lost in June alone, the agency said.

Forest fires often are set on purpose to clear land, but environmentalists say that Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro's efforts to loosen enforcement have emboldened land grabbers to burn away more of the rainforest. Beef and soy crops are the main driver of deforestation and many of the fires, according to Amazon Watch, an environmental advocacy and research group.

KLP, which manages around $80 billion in assets, said it has $50 million invested in the loans and shares of U.S. agribusinesses Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), Bunge Ltd. (BG), and Cargill Inc. (CRG.XX), all of which produce soy in Brazil.

The companies didn't immediately provide comment.

Ms. Bergan said the fund was speaking with investors and banks to pressure the companies to not add ecological damage.

"We expect answers this week," she said.

The pension fund also is looking into Norwegian businesses with suppliers in Brazil to "have an impact upon Brazilian authorities to prevent forest fires," Ms. Bergan said.


Write to Dieter Holger at; @dieterholger


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 26, 2019 16:30 ET (20:30 GMT)

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