Storebrand ditches fossil fuel assets in pursuit of 'long term, stable returns'.

Business Green: “The global campaign to encourage institutional investors to divest from fossil fuel assets secured a major victory last week as Norwegian pensions and insurance giant Storebrand announced it has excluded a further 19 fossil fuel companies from its investment portfolio.” “The company, which is one of the largest financial services companies in the Nordics, issued a statement confirming that will no longer hold investments in 13 coal and six oil sands companies. ….Christine Tørklep Meisingset, head of sustainable investments at the company, said that the aim of the exclusions was to “reduce Storebrand’s exposure to fossil fuels and to secure long term, stable returns for our clients”. ….Significantly, Storebrand does not operate specific “ethical funds” and as a result the exclusions cover all of its funds and investment vehicles.
The rationale for excluding the carbon intensive firms from its portfolios is a near exact replica of the argument put forward by the Carbon Tracker initiative and 350.org’s campaign to encourage investors to divest from fossil fuels.
Jeremy Leggett, chairman of the Carbon Tracker group, which has produced a series of reports over the past year highlighting the risk presented by the so-called “Carbon Bubble”, said that Storebrand’s commitment could form part of a significant new investment trend.
“There are grounds to be more than cautiously optimistic that something exciting is happening,” he told BusinessGreen. “We think there will be more investors looking at this argument and coming to the same conclusion.”
It also came as Dutch bank Rabobank reportedly committed to not investing in shale gas projects.
In addition, reports emerged today that the EU’s climate change commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, has stepped up calls for development banks to rule out carbon intensive investments.
….The Euractiv website this morning reported on a new report on bank lending policies in the Western Balkans, in which Hedegaard argued that tougher sustainability standards should be imposed on the lending rules followed by development banks.
….The moves were welcomed by Phil Aroneanu, US managing director of 350.org, who hailed Storebrand and Rabobank’s commitments as a significant breakthrough for the divestment campaign. ….He added that over 400 university campuses and dozens of cities and states now have campaigns under way to promote divestment policies and revealed that the movement will get a further boost this autumn when 350.org’s Fossil Free campaign expands into Europe and other territories.