The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Better known as the “Oil Fund”, GPFG manages Norway’s national petroleum revenues and holds wealth in excess of one trillion US Dollars. The capital is managed by a subsidiary of Norway’s central bank, which invests in listed equities, fixed-income instruments, and real estate for the benefit of current and future generations of Norwegians.
At this seminar, Knut Christian Myhre will explore the instruments by which GPFG seeks to influence the activities of the corporations in which it has an ownership stake. It focuses in particular on the seven Expectation documents that expectations of how companies in GPFG’s portfolio should address global challenges in their operations. These documents — ranging from the rights of children to sustainable oceans— are GPFG’s primary and prioritized means for the exercise of ownership. Myhre’s paper on the subject investigates how the different documents are drafted and how they seek to further a host of international principles to facilitate the integration of environmental and social agendas as explicit objectives of these corporations. It explores in particular how these documents emerge from a complex communicative field to address concerns affecting the life and well-being of a plurality of world’s population.
On this basis, Myhre argues that the documents and dialogues reframe how large multinational corporations engage the exigencies of human welfare in terms that that are not fully or necessarily under the thrall of the nation-state, and how these dialogues reciprocally recast the managerial practices of these corporations.
Knut Christian Myhre is a Senior Researcher in the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. Trained in philosophy and social anthropology, he received a DPhil degree from the University of Oxford. Myhre has long-term research experience from Tanzania, and is the author of Returning Life: Language, Life Force and History in Kilimanjaro (Berghahn 2018) and the editor of Cutting and Connecting: 'Afrinesian' Perspectives on Networks, Exchange and Relationality (Berghahn 2016). Myhre currently leads a research project entitled Forms of Ethics, Shapes of Finance: Ethnographic Explorations of the Limits of Contemporary Capital, which is funded by the Research Council of Norway.