BERLIN – German financial group Allianz SE, one of the world’s largest asset managers, said Tuesday it would over the next six months decrease investments in companies using coal and boost funding on those focused on wind power.
CEO Oliver Baete said Allianz will no longer invest in companies if more than 30 per cent of sales come from coal mining or if they generate more than 30 per cent of electricity from the fossil fuel.
He said Allianz decided to make the move ahead of next week’s United Nations climate change conference in France with “an eye on the two-degree goal of the Paris climate negotiations as well as the economic risks involved.”
As of last year, Allianz managed about 1.8 trillion ($1.9 trillion) euros in assets, with a focus on the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, Britain and the Asia-Pacific region.
The company plans to release more details later in the week, but experts estimate the decision on coal would affect some 4 billion euros in investments.
Some 90 per cent of the investments affected are in bonds that will be allowed to mature while the six-month frame will apply to equities, Allianz said.
In Paris more than 190 countries are set to negotiate a new global pact to fight climate change and deal with its consequences. Most of them have already presented plans to slash or rein in greenhouse gas emissions after 2020, when the deal is supposed to take effect.
Allianz investment chief Andreas Gruber told ZDF television that the company’s decision was made partially out of concern over global warming, but also because it made good financial sense.
He said the company is convinced climate-damaging investments won’t pay off in the future and said Allianz will double wind energy investments to 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) in coming years. It expects a return of five to six per cent on those investments, Gruber said.
“We want to support the negotiations at the climate summit in Paris in December, but also send a signal to our industry and the capital markets,” Gruber said.