Happy Norway

happy.jpg
Photo: Adrian Castillo

This week, the United Nations commission, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), released their annual World Happiness Report for 2017. The Nordic countries usually score high on this index, and this year’s report moves Norway’s ranking from fourth to first place. The report is released on the occasion of World Happiness Day, 20th March

Freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income, wealth and good governance are criteria measured to indicate high levels of happiness. In Norway, we pride ourselves on being an open and free democracy with welfare solutions put in place in order to make sure all members of our community feels safe and taken care of. Of course, such implementations correlate with our robust and large economy, however the report states that Norwegian happiness is not a result of our oil money but rather despite of it. 

To understand this statement, we have to understand that Norwegian Pension Fund Global, where the Norwegian Bank on behalf of the Norwegian government manages and reinvests our oil fortune. The fund’s market value is today estimated at around 7 750 billion NOK, and the investments made have aroused international interest. When Norway first struck oil in the 60’s, we understood that we dealt with a limited resource and investment in the future and future generations were more crucial than a raging spending spree. Responsible investments done by the fund during these times created the basis of our modern society and in extension our happiness.

Today, the Norwegian Pension Fund Global have invested in 8 985 companies globally and own a total percentage of 1.3 % of listed companies worldwide. We invest and exercise our ownership rights responsibly, because the fund’s investments are about the future and belong to our future generations. We aim to contribute to efficient and well-functioning markets and promote work on international standards for responsible investment.

Now, money is, as we all know not the full picture. Numbers from the United States shows that their income have increased significantly the last ten years, still Americans ranks as number 14 in the index. “Corruption, distrust and inequality are contributing factors for this,” says leader of SDSN, Jeffrey Sachs to Reuters.

The aim with this report is according to SDSN that authorities, public and private sector can use it as a tool to optimize solutions for better welfare. The six factors used in the report are GDP, life expectancy, freedom, generosity, community support and lack of corruption in government and businesses.