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One Planet Summit Investor Action Round-Up

Written by Sara Giordano

In addition to the ClimateAction 100+, which are featured in a separate blogpost, we summarise three individual investor actions that were announced at or around the One Planet Summit.

Storebrand launches a $1.3 billion fossil-free bond fund

Storebrand starts $1.3 billion fossil-free bond fund: Just when Norway government faces dilemma over the recent Norway’s Wealth Fund’s proposal to end oil and gas investment (FT, 11 Dec), Storebrand ($80 billion AUM), Norway’s biggest private pension fund, announced a $1.3 billion fossil-fuel-free bond programme on Tuesday, urging investors to do more to curb climate change. The Norwegian firm already runs $2.1 billion equity funds that have no investments in fossil fuels. (Reuters, 12 Dec). “We’re building a track record in managing these low-carbon solutions”, said Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management.

In the meantime, Moody's Investors Service has changed to positive from stable the outlook on Storebrand. The change “reflects the improvements in Storebrand's capitalisation and balance sheet risk over the last three years”, the credit rating agency states (Moody’s global credit research here).

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Axa accelerates its commitment to tackle climate change

n Paris, the French insurer announced several new ambitious decisions to accelerate its commitment to fight climate change: The company has indeed decided to increase its divestment fivefold to reach €2.4 billion, by divesting from companies which derive more than 30% of their revenues from coal, have a coal-based energy mix that exceeds 30%, actively build new coal plants, or produce more than 20 million tonnes of coal per year (The Guardian, 12 Dec).

AXA was one of the first major financial companies to start selling off coal investments in 2015 with a €500 million divestment. “A +4°C world is not insurable. As a global insurer and investor, we know that we have a key role to play”, said AXA CEO Thomas Buberl (Fox Business, 12 Dec).

AXA also announced the divestment of over €700 million from the main oil sands producers and associated pipelines, and the discontinuation of further investments in these businesses, ending also insuring for any new coal construction projects, oil sands and the associated pipeline businesses. “Tar sands often present acute human rights issues, if you think about population displacement and the local pollution they produce”, added Thomas Buberl (Insurance Business, 12 Dec). “The pipelines will also be stranded assets at some point, so we don’t want to invest”, he said. The company also raised its goal for investments in green energy and buildings from €3 billion to €12 billion by 2020 (Reuters, 12 Dec).

Together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is also launching an innovative $500 million partnership supporting climate related infrastructures projects in emerging countries with private sector funding. There will be no investments in coal and oil sands related projects.

In its statement, AXA declared as well the implementation of TCFD recommendations in the Group’s upcoming annual financial report. AXA also leads the European Union High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and supports the Climate Action 100+ initiative (Axa’s press release here).

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ING further sharpens coal policy

ING announces close to zero exposure to coal power generation by 2025: By the end of 2025, ING will no longer finance clients in the utilities sector that are over 5% reliant on coal fired power in their energy mix, as part of their efforts to support the transition to a low-carbon economy and will come into effect immediately (Reuters,Insurance Journal, 12 Dec). They will, however, continue to finance non-coal energy projects for these clients in support of their energy transition. As of today, they will support new clients in the utilities sector only when their reliance on coal is 10% or less and they have a strategy to reduce their coal percentage to close to zero by 2025 and phase out their lending to individual coal-fired power plants by the end of 2025 (ING’s press release here).Add paragraph text here.

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