Norfund’s mandate and operations entail a high level of social responsibility, and the Fund works systematically to augment efforts in this respect. 

Norfund assumes social responsibility by setting high standards for its own operations and for the operation of enterprises in its portfolio. Norfund has zero tolerance for corruption, and requires consideration for human rights, gender equality and local communities, as well as safeguarding of the environment and biological diversity. All these factors are thoroughly reviewed before investment agreements are signed; if necessary, actions plans are established for the companies to follow up, and these factors will be in focus in Norfund's exercise of active ownership in the companies, and in reporting from the companies in which Norfund has invested.

Complience requirements

In many of the countries in which Norfund invests, laws and rules to protect employees and the rights of vulnerable groups are poorly implemented. In its investment agreements, Norfund therefore stipulates compliance requirements over and above those that are often general practice, and commits the enterprises to complying with the environmental and social standards of the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC). These standards cover indigenous peoples’ rights, biodiversity, the interests of local communities and the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Business Integrity Policy

Relevant portions of the Declaration of Human Rights and the UN guidelines for human rights are incorporated in the IFC standards. Compliance with these standards is an integral part of the work of entering into investment agreements and monitoring the investments as owner and lender. Norfund has established a 'Business Integrity Policy' and reporting procedures that are to be used if financial irregularities or corruption are suspected, and these are constantly followed up in all parts of the organisation. If financial irregularities or corruption are suspected, there is a special procedure for reporting to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

An important result of the work to promote human rights and anti-corruption in its investments is that Norfund has gained a reputation as an investor that does not tolerate breaches of important principles, and for that reason has become an attractive investment partner.