AXA ramps up pressure on corporate Europe with plans to phase out coal exposure

The French insurance group has revealed plans to phase out its exposure to coal by 2030 in the European Union and the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and by 2040 in other parts of the world.

AXA’s decision to eliminate its exposure to the global coal industry over the next two decades has ratcheted up the pressure on European companies to quickly announce definitive coal phase-out plans, in line with the goals of the UN Paris climate deal by 2021, according to Kaarina Kolle, finance and utility coordinator at Europe Beyond Coal. Kolle described AXA’s move as the “only defensible position” for European financial institutions when it comes to coal.

Lucie Pinson – an adviser for the finance campaign of Friends of the Earth France, a Paris-based NGO – agreed, noting that the AXA announcement significantly ramps up pressure on other insurance groups and financial institutions, including Talanx and BNP Paribas, to avoid “looking flat-footed” by quickly following suit by issuing more assertive coal policies of their own.

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