Using “exit lists” to move the financial sector in Europe and the US away from fossil fuels
Behind every new coal plant, gas terminal, and oil pipeline, there are banks, investors, and insurers, without which the fossil fuel projects would not be realized. Many of these financial institutions are based in Europe and in the US: Eight of the world’s 20 largest banks are European and four are from the US. And most of the world’s 30 largest asset managers are from Europe and the US.
A coalition of 6 NGOs has come together to move the financial sector in Europe and the US away from fossil fuels. Urgewald (Germany), Les Amis de la Terre (France), Reclaim Finance (France), BankTrack (Netherlands), Re:Common (Italy), and Rainforest Action Network (US) have set out to do this using two impactful tools: The Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) and the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL).
The fossil companies listed in the GCEL represent 95 pct. of the world’s thermal coal production and 95 pct. of the world’s coal-fired capacity. Investors such as AXA, Ostrum Asset Managers (4th largest asset manager in France), and Zurich Insurance Group are using one or more of the GCEL’s three divestment criteria to exclude coal companies from their portfolios. To date, investors representing over USD 16tr in assets are using the list to guide their investments.
GOGEL covers 95 pct. of the world’s oil and gas production. It enables financial institutions to easily identify the largest oil and gas expansionists as well as the companies responsible for the biggest share of unconventional oil and gas production. Although GOGEL is still a very new database, it has already been used by over 20 financial institutions, e.g., La Banque Postale and Ostrum Asset Managers, to develop stricter oil and gas policies.