November 27, 2019

PARIS, 27 November 2019French global insurer AXA is putting European coal companies on notice that they should publish coal phase-out plans compatible with the UN Paris climate agreement by 2021, announcing today that it will totally phase out its insurance and investment exposure to coal by 2030 in the EU and OECD countries, and by 2040 everywhere else. 

The policy comes just ahead of the fifth edition of Climate Finance Day (1) in Paris, and will exclude approximately 400 companies with coal plant and mine expansion plans. It also includes a refusal to renew contracts for clients that are highly exposed to coal (2).

“AXA has set a new global benchmark for best practice with this coal phase-out policy. Zero tolerance for coal expansion is the only responsible action in a carbon-constrained world, and dumping coal companies like RWE, Adani, and KEPCO is essential for financial institutions that do not want to be complicit in the damage these companies cause to the climate and human health. Financial institutions with weaker coal policies, like BNP Paribas and Talanx, now risk looking flat-footed,” said Lucie Pinson, adviser for Friends of the Earth France’s finance campaign.

Banks, investors, and insurers are now under great pressure to up their game on climate with new coal policy announcements. The only defensible position is one like AXA’s: a strong 2030 phase-out commitment for EU and OECD countries, coupled with detailed near-term plans on delivering it. This is the minimum standard for any financial institution committed to the Paris climate agreement’s 1.5 degree warming limit,” said Kaarina Kolle, finance and utility coordinator at Europe Beyond Coal.

“AXA is leading the way by driving its coal portfolio down to zero by 2030. German insurers’ commitments to stop backing coal by 2038 or 2040 are not good enough. The EU and OECD coal plants, coal mines and companies they insure and invest in are duty-bound to shut down by 2030 at the absolute latest. They are running huge, reckless risks if they fail to do so,” said Regine Richter, energy campaigner at Urgewald.

ENDS

Notes:

  1. Friday 29 November 2019. More details on www.climatefinanceday.com
  2. Only coverage dedicated to renewable energy projects will be allowed beyond 2021 for companies that derive more than 30 percent of their revenue / electricity production from coal or that produce more than 20 million tonnes of coal per year. This includes BHP Billiton, RWE, Sasol, Anglo American. 
  3. A complete analysis of insurers policies on coal, the 3rd annual insurance scorecard Insuring Coal No More: The 2019 Scorecard on Insurance, Coal and Climate Change, will be released by 13 civil society organisations from 10 countries on Monday Dec 2.

 

Contacts:

Lucie Pinson, European coordinator of the Unfriend Coal campaign and adviser for Friends of the Earth France’s finance campaign, [email protected], +33 6 79 54 37 15 (French, English)

Kaarina Kolle, coal finance and utility coordinator, Europe Beyond Coal

[email protected], +32 4 83 26 20 75 (Finnish, English)

Alastair Clewer, communications officer, Europe Beyond Coal

[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185 (English)

Regine Richter, energy campaigner, Urgewald, [email protected], +49 170 2930725 (English, German)

Moritz Schröder-Therre, communications director, Urgewald

[email protected], +49 176 640 799 65 (English, German)

 

About: 

Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu 

The Unfriend Coal campaign holds insurers to account for their action and in-action on climate change. unfriendcoal.org