Friends of the Earth International has today launched a petition asking people to write to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund calling for an end to all its investments in oil company Shell. Last month 28 Right Livelihood Award laureates wrote a letter to the government highlighting the company's negligence in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, where it is causing environmental devastation
The 28 Right Livelihood Award laureates share the belief that Shell is in serious breach of the Council of Ethics' guidelines due to the continued environmental damage it is doing in the Niger Delta. For this reason the company should be kicked out of the pension fund.
The petition will be sent to Professor Ola Mestad, the Chairman of the Council of Ethics of the pension fund. It asks that he take all the necessary steps to ensure the Norwegian Pension Fund sends a strong message to Shell, by divesting in the company with immediate effect.
The Norway Government Pension Fund was created by the Norwegian government to invest the income generated by the sales of Norwegian oil for future generations.
The pension fund's Council of Ethics sets guidelines as to which companies the fund can invest money in. Companies that directly or indirectly contribute to killing, torture, deprivation of freedom or other violations of human rights are excluded. Companies that breach certain environmental guidelines can also be excluded.
The Right Livelihood Award honours those "offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today" and is widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize'. In 2010 it was awarded to the chair of Friends of the Earth International, Nnimmo Bassey, for standing up against the practices of multinational corporations in Nigeria.