Financial institutions pull coal finance once every two weeks

Banks, insurers and other financial institutions have announced 33 restrictions on funding for the coal sector since the start of 2018, amounting to a new policy being introduced every two weeks.


That is according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which reveals that more than 100 organisations with $10bn (£8bn) in assets have now pulled finance for coal.

This includes 40% of the top 40 global banks restricting lending, while at least 20 insurers – representing a fifth of the industry’s assets – have excluded coal from their portfolios.

The rate of coal exits since 2013 stands at one a month, with the latest rise to one every two weeks demonstrating how “global momentum increases when significant investors act”, report author, Tim Buckley, said.

“For environmental, reputational and financial reasons, thermal coal is a toxic asset for global investors increasingly announcing new and improved policies responding to climate change,” he continued.

“The strong leadership of a few globally significant institutions five years ago is increasingly turning into capital flight by the many, with one new announcement every two weeks in recent years.”

Of the 33 coal exits announced over the last 14 months, 24 are new, while nine build on previous commitments, with financial institutions in Asia starting to align with their European counterparts.

The World Bank announced its first ever restriction back in 2013, with the hundredth announcement coming from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development last December.

A further five policies have been announced this year, including restrictions from Barclays Bank UK and Export Development Canada, with the latest move coming from Austria’s VIG.

Meanwhile, eight insurers and reinsurers, including industry giants AXA, Allianz and Swiss Re, have ended or restricted coverage for coal, making it increasingly hard for companies to find cover.

“With the energy transition to cheaper technologies gathering pace, the likelihood of investors having to wear billions of dollars in additional stranded assets is impossible to ignore,” said Buckley.

“The smart money is jumping ship. The only question now is, who’s next?”


Image credit | iStock 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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