Legal & General, Aberdeen Standard Investments and Church of England Pensions Board join anti-coal, multi-stakeholder alliance that aims to encourage the phase out of coal by 2050 at the latest.
Aberdeen Standard Investments, Legal & General and the Church of England Pensions Board have today officially signed up to the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), joining a growing number of financial institutions that have pledged to cut off financing to the coal industry and boost investment in clean energy infrastructure.
The PPCA, established by the governments of the UK and Canada in 2017, brings together national governments, regional governments, and businesses in support of efforts to deliver a phase out of unabated coal power by 2030 in the EU and OECD countries and by 2050 globally.
Today's membership boost, announced at the 2020 Investor Summit on Climate Risk, sees the number of finance sector companies signed up to the initiative jump from 10 to 16.
All 16 firms have signed up to the PPCA Finance Principles, which include a promise to promote the phase-out of the fossil fuel to the broader financial and utilities sectors and end direct and indirect financing of new coal-fired power assets.
Canadian cooperative bank Desjardins, Netherlands-based asset management company Robeco, and insurance giant Swiss Re also joined the alliance today, pushing its total membership past the 100 mark.
In addition, a finance taskforce launched today by the PPCA is set to encourage its finance sector members to work with governments and think tanks to accelerate the transition from coal to clean energy.
"The new PPCA finance taskforce will ensure that coal phase-out is a priority for key finance sector initiatives on climate change," explained Helen Wildsmith, stewardship director for climate change at investment management firm CCLA and the initial co-ordinator of the PPCA finance taskforce. "Collaboration between countries, sub-nationals, and the private sector is critical to achieving a timely and just transition to net zero emissions. By focusing on phasing out coal power, the PPCA is providing invaluable lessons for other industries that will soon need to decarbonise rapidly."
The PPCA said it intends to double the number of major financial institutions among its membership before the COP26 climate conference, now set to be held in Glasgow in November 2021 after a Covid-19 postponement.
And in the months to come, the PPCA said it would be working to tap its members' experience to help governments around the world develop green recovery packages to the coronavirus crisis.
Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, commended the financial institutions for joining the alliance and stressed that phasing out coal was critical to ensuring a green recovery from the pandemic. "As holder of the COP26 presidency, the UK is going further and faster on coal and our energy mix will be totally coal free by 2025," he said. "We are calling on our international partners to lay the foundations for a green, resilient global recovery from Covid-19 and phasing out coal will be vital to that.
"I am delighted that even more world-leading financial institutions are joining the PPCA, demonstrating their commitment to the environment and to channelling investment away from coal-fired power into sustainable, green energy."
Meanwhile, Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada's minister for environment and climate change, said: "It's no coincidence that the members joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance today are from the financial sector. As the world begins its recovery from Covid-19, these companies realise not only the importance of phasing out emissions from coal power, but also see sizable economic opportunities and reduced financial risks in a global transition to low carbon energy."
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