Norfund and the SDGs

Norfund is committed to contributing to implementing and supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Norfund is the Norwegian government’s main instrument for strengthening the private sector in developing countries to contribute to poverty reduction (SDG 1: No Poverty).

Our mission and strategy for 2019-2022 are based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Norfund’s mission is to create jobs and improve lives by investing in businesses that drive sustainable development (SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth).

As defined in Norfund’s strategy, the investments are concentrated in four investment areas that each also contribute directly to SDG targets:

  • Clean Energy investments contribute to SDG 7-1 (universal access to energy services) and SDG 7-2 (increase share of renewables in the global energy mix)
  • Financial Institutions investments contribute to SDG 8-10 (universal access to financial services) and SDG 9-3 (increased access to financial services for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) )
  • Scalable Enterprises investments contribute to SDG 8-5 (productive employment and decent work for all) and SDG 9-2 (promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization )
  • Green Infrastructure investments contribute to SDG 11-6 (clean cities) and SDG 12-5 (reduce waste generation)

In addition, Norfund’s work to mobilise capital from other investors contributes to reducing inequalities between countries (SDG 10) and to increasing investments in developing countries (SDG 17).

Cross-cutting issues

The cross-cutting issues in Norway’s development policy – human rights (SDG 8), anti-corruption (SDG 16), gender equality (SDG 5), climate and environment (SDG 13) – are assessed in all of our investments.

Human rights

The responsibility to respect hu­man rights is a global standard of expected conduct for businesses and their responsibility as employers worldwide (SDG 8.7). As Norfund’s role is to contribute to building sus­tainable businesses, we require our investees to respect human rights by adhering to the IFC Performance Standards. These standards cover relevant parts of the Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – such as the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and indige­nous peoples’ rights.

Zero tolerance for corruption

Norfund has zero tolerance for corruption in all its investments and activities. We make clear to our portfolio companies that we do not accept any form of corruption and require them to implement anti-corruption programmes. In addition, all Norfund employees and representatives (in­cluding external board members appointed to portfolio com­panies) are required to sign and abide by Norfund’s Code of Conduct, which prohibits all forms of corruption. If financial irregularities or corruption are suspected, Norfund has a for­mal channel to support whistle-blowers.

Gender Equality

Norfund is committed to addressing gender equality in our own organisation as well as in our investments. We use active ownership to promote equal opportunities for men and women across all levels in our investee companies.

In June 2020, a new gender position was published. Read more in the following link.

Gender equality and Norfund’s new Gender Position


The climate crisis disproportionally affects poor people in developing countries and is a major threat to the goal of eradicating poverty.

In September 2020, Norfund published a climate position that outlines how Norfund will assess and address climate change going forward. Read more in the following link.

Norfund’s new Climate Position