AXA to boost green investments, gives red light to coal

The latest blow to oil's popularity among investors came from French insurer Axa, the third-largest globally. In 2015, the company had chose to divest EUR500 million from the coal industry, a figure that it has made a decision to increase fivefold to EUR2.4 billion.

The divestment targets will include companies that derive more than 30 percent of their revenues from coal, coal-plant builders, businesses with an energy mix that is more than 30 percent coal, and coal producers with production of over 20 million tons annually.

AXA SA (EPA:CS) plans to step up efforts to fight climate change by quadrupling its green investments through 2020, furthering divestments from carbon-intensive energy producers and adjusting its insurance policy.

The French-owned multinational insurance group said in a statement today (12 December) that it would be: "Phasing out of insurance coverage for new coal construction projects and oil sands businesses".

The French insurance and asset management group said on Tuesday it is multiplying by four to Euro 12 billion (USD 14bn) its 2020 green investments target, having met early its original goal of Euro 3 billion. Oil and gas investments account for about 2 percent of the bank's US$280-billion asset base.

According to a recent industry scorecard from the Unfriend Coal campaign, insurance companies have pulled out $20bn of investments in coal and a significant number of them are considering to end underwriting for new coal projects.