March 18, 2019 / 1:46 PM / a month ago

BNP Paribas' insurer Cardif reduces exposure to coal

PARIS (Reuters) - The Cardif insurance division of BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank, on Monday outlined new targets to reduce its exposure to coal as companies around the world step up fossil fuel divestment plans to improve the environment.

An employee walks behind the logo of BNP Paribas in a company's building in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris, June 2, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Cardif, which has already sold stakes worth 200 million euros in coal-fired power generation companies, will no longer finance power generation companies where coal-fired power accounts for more than 30 percent of installed capacity.

Cardif also said it intends to invest 3.5 billion euros ($4 billion) in green projects by 2020, up from an earlier pledge of 2.4 billion euros.

BNP Paribas Asset Management also said last week it intended to stop investing in companies that obtain more than 10 percent of their revenue from thermal coal.

Fossil fuel divestment has gathered pace since the 195-nation global climate agreement was signed in Paris in 2015 with a goal of phasing out the use of fossil fuels this century, prompting pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and universities to sell their oil, gas and coal investments.

Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, is barred from investing in companies that gain more than 30 percent of their business from coal and two weeks ago it said it would sell its stakes in oil and gas explorers and producers.

Cardif has also committed to cut energy consumption at its 55 office buildings in France.

Alongside environmental goals, some financial firms are also seeking to make a positive impact in other areas of society.

BNP Paribas Asset Management has excluded tobacco investments from its actively managed mutual funds because of the health, social and environmental costs linked to tobacco.

Cardif will also encourage diversity and human rights improvements in the companies it invests in.

Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Kirsten Donovan

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