Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, encourage companies to define their purpose.

Companies need to define their purpose, shareholders have more power and sustainability is on everyone’s lips.

“Capitalism is changing fast,” concludes Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management. He was one of three keynote speakers at the eight edition of Global Outlook 2021 during Arendalsuka Tuesday.

Tangen encouraged all companies to define a purpose and reflect on their contribution to society.

“Purpose can be profit enhancing. 90 per cent of millennials want to work for companies that share their values. Defining a purpose may increase employee efficiency. It is an extra drive, a kind of rocket! A clearly defined purpose translates into culture, targets, actions and how to report,” said Tangen.

He went on to talk about how shareholders increase their influence and power over the companies they own part of.

“Shareholders will raise awareness of who to elect to the board, and they will vote against potential board members when they lag behind om climate issues. We advocate a stronger shareholder democracy, a division of the roles of CEO and Chairman,” said Tangen.

“Shareholders are much more vocal than we have ever seen. We have implemented a practice of announcing our voting intention five days before the general meeting, so that every investor in the world can see how we will vote,” said Tangen.

2020 was the year in which the stock markets came to value companies with an ESG profile. Sustainability was on everyone’s lips – literally.

“At NBIM we are number geeks. We have numbers for everything, also for the conversations between our portfolio managers and their companies. In 2013, only 150 conversations included the topic sustainability. In 2020 the corresponding number was 2,500!” said Tangen.

Due to meetings regarding the situation in Kabul, Afghanistan, Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs had to participate via link.
Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the British Foreign Affairs Committee, on the relationship between Britain and Norway: “I think relations between our two countries have improved a lot in the last 1200 years, since you stopped murdering us.”