Why Greenpeace makes Generali black on green investments

Why Greenpeace makes Generali black on green investments

The article by Emanuela Rossi

Over 1 trillion dollars from 4,488 institutional investors: this is the amount of global finance support for the coal sector five years after the Paris climate agreement. The numbers come from research published by Urgewald, Re: Common and 27 other international NGOs which for the first time attempts to analyze the exposure of commercial banks and investors to the coal industry. The research, updated in January 2021, examines the financial flows destined for the 934 companies in the coal sector on the Global Coal Exit List . On the other hand, consider that between October 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020, 665 banks were identified that provided loans for $ 315 billion and underwriting assets for over $ 808 billion.

The data on Italian finance partially go against the trend: the exposure to coal of the main players such as UniCredit, Assicurazioni Generali and Intesa Sanpaolo begins to decrease, after reaching its peak in 2019. But not all that glitters is gold and especially for Trieste there is some criticism. Meanwhile, green emissions continue to please and in Italy a few days ago there was a record for the first Green BTP.


Looking at the Italian reality, according to the data provided by Greenpeace Unicredit is avant-garde. Just recently, Piazza Gae Aulenti decided to adopt a policy that by 2028 should gradually eliminate any financing for projects and companies involved in the coal business. Generali also continues its divestment from the coal industry, in the wake of the commitments made in 2018, but according to the organizations the exit from the sector "is proceeding too slowly, because investments in the sector still amount to more than 200 million dollars, of which 10% in ČEZ and PGE, companies that are hindering the energy transition in the Czech Republic and Poland respectively ”. Furthermore, although the research focuses only on investments, “we must also take into consideration the insurance contracts still in place signed by the Leone di Trieste with the two companies, which further aggravate its position”.

Surprisingly, there is also the performance of Intesa Sanpaolo which between 2019 and 2020 decreased coal loans by around 70%, despite one of the weakest sectoral policies in Europe. A result that has been obtained, we still read, thanks to the pressure exerted in the last year by Greenpeace and Re: Common. "It is time for Intesa to support these steps with the adoption of a robust coal policy like that of UniCredit" was the comment of Re: Common according to which this is "the only way to prevent support for coal from growing again in the future, and indeed it will constantly decrease until it reaches zero by 2030 ”.


In these days there are a few words on the subject by Philippe Donnet, CEO of Generali, interviewed in the context of the Politico Finance Summit 2021. For the French manager, a possible revision of Solvency 2 should be aimed at making a contribution to economic recovery perhaps by acting on the decrease in the weight assigned to the riskiness of investments, in particular on green assets. "For example, you could think of a special asset class for green bonds and treat them better in terms of capital absorption to push long-term investors and insurance companies to focus on these assets," said Donnet. Europe has the opportunity to build a comprehensive protection system to which, among others, insurance, reinsurance and Member States should contribute, and which would benefit both individuals and businesses.


Returning to the issue of support for the coal industry, if the 2020 Glasgow Climate Conference had been held regularly – rather than being postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic emergency – global finance would have been in the dock first and foremost. The organizations recall that 17% of the more than one trillion invested is attributable to the US giants Vanguard and BlackRock and, between stocks and bonds, the United States accounts for more than half of global investments, around 602 billion dollars. Things are not going better with the commercial banks which, in the two years following the IPCC report of 2018, have provided 315 billion dollars to the coal industry with the lion's share made by three Japanese credit institutions or Mizuho (22 billion) , Sumitomo Mitsui (21 billion), Mistubishi UFJ (18 billion).


The CoP Clima will be held in Glasgow in November, of which Italy has the co-presidency. In our country, the Youth CoP and an intersessional meeting will take place in Milan between September and October. A week before the CoP, in Rome, the meeting of the G20 under the Italian presidency is scheduled. Hence the invitation of Greenpeace Italy: “In the year of COP26, co-chaired by Italy, and the G20 in Rome, Italian finance cannot hold back and must give a clear signal. The eyes of the world will be focused on our country in terms of climate, environment and ecological transition ”.


Meanwhile, in Italy there is a focus on green by investors given the demand for over 80 billion euros from 530 investors and a sale of 8.5 billion, of the BTP Green – issued on March 3 – that is the new title to finance 'eco-friendly' spending. A debut which, moreover, coincides with the choice of Palazzo Chigi to set up a ministry for ecological transition to draw up the Recovery plan and which celebrates the Treasury. It must be said that Italy on this path follows Poland, France, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden but is the first country in the Mediterranean bloc and in any case, as the Mef informed, it has reached " requests in the inaugural issues of sovereign green bonds in Europe ”. "The success of the placement will lead other issuers to launch green bonds" is the opinion of Simon Bond, director of investment in charge of Columbia Threadneedle, while for Vittorio Ogliengo, executive chairman of Bnp Paribas CIB Italy, the success of the issue "highlights the multiplicity of environmental levers to be activated to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis ”and shows that“ investors are mobilizing to support those states that bring their ambitions in terms of environment and climate to the capital markets ”.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/economia/perche-greenpeace-fa-nera-generali-sugli-investimenti-green/ on Sun, 07 Mar 2021 15:09:23 +0000.