French banks, insurers must cut coal exposure – central bank


FILE PHOTO: Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau arrives for the G20 meeting during the IMF and World Bank’s 2019 Annual Fall Meetings of finance ministers and bank governors, in Washington, October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

PARIS (Reuters) – French banks and insurers need to cut their exposure to the coal industry, French central bank governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said in a newspaper interview published on Friday.

Investors are increasingly putting pressure on companies to make concrete steps to helping implement the United Nations-backed 2015 Paris Agreement to avert catastrophic global warming.

In France, banks and insurers – which have been required by law to disclose climate risks since 2016 – are also facing pressure from regulators.

“It is absolutely necessary that the risk of financing coal plants is quickly reduced on French banks’ balance sheets,” Villeroy told newspaper La Croix.

French bank Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) and French insurer AXA (AXAF.PA) said this week they would exit the coal sector by 2030 in OECD countries and by 2040 for the rest the world.

French bank BNP Paribas said last week that it would stop financing the thermal coal sector by 2030 in the European Union and 2040 worldwide.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Geert De Clercq

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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