AIA Pares Coal Investments, Faces Environment Group Scrutiny


AIA Group Ltd. said it’s paring coal-related investment as financial firms globally face pressure to reduce their carbon assets.

The Hong Kong-based insurer said it decided to end all direct equity investments in coal mining and coal-fired power producers earlier this year, according to an emailed statement Tuesday. The response came after environment groups reviewed the company’s portfolio, criticizing it for lagging behind peers.

AIA is the latest company to come under scrutiny for its environmental, social and governance investment track record. Grassroots organizations and shareholders are holding companies responsible for their pledges to help combat climate change.

Environment groups SumOfUs and Insure Our Future urged AIA to divest its assets in coal and join 65 industry peers that have done so, according to a report on Wednesday. SumOfUs is a global online community of 10 million consumers that campaigns to hold big corporations accountable, according to its website. Insure Our Future is an activist group that scrutinizes insurance companies’ roles in the climate crisis.

Peter Bosshard, a coordinator for Insure Our Future, welcomed AIA’s decision but added “often the devil is in the details,” since the company still holds some coal-related assets.

AIA is carrying out a full review of other coal-linked investments, it said in the statement. A spokesman declined to say whether the divestment plan covers companies that derive a minority of their revenue from coal.

AIA, which operates in 18 Asian markets, is a signatory to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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